Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Six Secrets of Change

Q7: How do Fullan’s Six Secrets of Change fit into your evolving role as a Digital Leader? If you are about to make this transition how do you see them impacting you and your work? I always learn so much from Fullan.

Question 7 of our #satchat book study asks us the reflect on Fullan's Six Secrets of Change - there is lots to write about here. I will answer this question by quoting and reflecting on some of the statements written in Sheninger's book.

1. Love your Employees: "The best way to love your employees in order to initiate sustainable change is to trust and support them unconditionally."
I think there is no other way to go. I have so much respect for the thinking and practices of our teachers. They are the truly innovative ones and they are the ones really driven to act for the success of our students. We tend to forget this. We think there is a 'magic potion' out there that teachers have not considered - that simply is not true, we do not give our teachers enough credit for their spirit for innovation. Instead we rely too much on the wisdom of the district - this is flawed thinking.

2. Connect Peers With Purpose: "Purposeful peer interaction allows teachers to have a voice in the decision-making process and to craft how policies and mandates will be implemented (Dufour, Dufour, &Eaker, 2008)"
Everyone loves to quote Dufour, but do they really think about what he is saying? We need to abolish all senseless babble from district experts and instead allow teachers more time to talk to each other and come up with new ideas. Let's put more time into working on all sorts of collaboration - face to face meetings, twitter networks, edcamps, play dates, book studies - let's let them innovate!

3. Capacity Building Prevails : "Studies on school change indicate that schools successful in sustaining school improvement build capacity for leadership within the organization (Harris & Lambert, 2003)" 
True leadership comes within the school. Change happens when the school community focuses on what is essential for that community. We tend to think that the solution is somehow 'out there'. It is not - the solution to any problem at the school level starts with the people within your own community. We can't expect change to come from some over staffed district that doesn't necessarily have any clear vision on what change should look like. We need to stop looking outside of ourselves.

4. Learning is the Work: "Leaders must not only be creative in finding time for teachers to engage in PD during the day, but they also must consistently model lifelong learning themselves. Digital leadership dictates that learning is first and foremost."
Learning is the work is the title of a paper Fullan wrote about how teachers need to learn. If educators paid attention to what he wrote in this paper we would totally change the way we offer PD. In fact, we wouldn't 'offer' PD anymore, we would empower learning hubs of teachers to effectively inquire and share their good ideas. Do we as administrators actually accept this idea? If so we need to take courage and start modelling this for our teachers.

5. Transparency Rules: "Leaders, proud of the work being done in their schools, now have the means to continuously tell their story to key stakeholders. Sharing more information will increase engagement in the change process." 
We can play a unique role our schools - share what your teachers are learning. Don't hide great work. Don't sit on your hands. If you are an administrator start sharing the great change that is happening in your school. Nothing great happening - I find that hard to believe.

6. Systems Learn: (I hope so!) "Continuous learning depends on developing many leaders in the school in order to enhance continuity. It also depends on schools being confident in the face of complexity and open to new ideas."
Do you notice in everything I have quoted here that the emphasis is put on the school. This puts added pressure on the administrator. I am glad for that, I like the pressure. As administrators we need to realize that we are the change agents in our schools and we are there to empower others to do the same.

We must stop relying on the district, state or province to come up with great ideas. they are totally incapable of doing this! If we don't lead the change the change simply will not happen. This puts pressure on the leader, but we signed up for this!

Terrific ideas, great challenges. I am convinced that if we hope to save education we need to be the change agents. We need to stop thinking someone will do this for us.
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