Reform vs Transformation

“We need transformation, not reform. Reform produces a better version of the current system, transformation produces a different system” (Dr Asmaa Al-FadalaDirector of Research, World Innovation Summit for Education) I’ve just been reading the latest WISE All-in Report: Number 2 – Education Reimagined: Leadership for Transformation – Leading into the Emerging Future. It contains 23 brief case studies with lessons learned, research evidence and findings. These showcase innovation in leadership, policy and practice on how emerging models teaching and learning can be developed and led from the inside-out—and demonstrate the power of distributed empowerment and transformative leadership The following notes … Continue reading Reform vs Transformation

Acting on evidence

“We owe almost all our knowledge not to those who have agreed but to those who have differed.” Charles Caleb Colton Over the past few days I’ve seen a lot of conversation generated as a result of the recently released paper from Dr Michael Johnson of the New Zealand Initiative titled No Evidence, No Evaluation, No Exit , subtitled “Lessons from the “Modern Learning Environments” Experiment.” Of course, headlines like this are always bound to attract attention – which is why they are so constructed. They’re intended to be provocative, challenging and position-taking. This, it may be argued, is what … Continue reading Acting on evidence

Characteristics of Resilient Schools

“Just believe in yourself, and you will realize that even those small steps taken in the right direction can produce great results.” Dr Prem Jagyasi In my previous post I introduced the idea of three dimensions to help educators and school leaders think about the characteristics of resilient schools. In this post I want to expand on these little more and introduce some questions that may be used to guide further thinking. The three dimensions are: Each dimension is explained in summary in the sections below, and then introducing the three characteristics within each of them. The culture of an … Continue reading Characteristics of Resilient Schools

Achieving resilience

“Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organisation is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of people working together everyday.” Frances Hesselbein When considering the characteristics of resilient schools it is useful to consider the three dimensions illustrated below. This will ensure that school leaders and others involved in the transformation process focus across all areas of a school’s activity, and not just on one particular thing. For example, during the lockdown and beyond we’ve seen lots of emphasis on providing technology for students at home, teachers working in teams to ensure … Continue reading Achieving resilience

Resilience in Education

The crises facing our world are complex and ever-evolving. The consequences, whether from conflict, natural hazards, climate change, or epidemics, are severe for many sectors and societies. Education is no exception: effects might include the destruction of school infrastructure, a reduction in the number of teachers, an increase in gender disparities, or overall system dysfunction. UNESCO – Crisis-sensitive education planning The impact of both incremental threats such as climate change as well as sudden and pervasive disruptions like COVID-19 is affecting all aspects of our lives – including education. A recent Mckinsey report highlights how these sorts of disruptions are becoming more … Continue reading Resilience in Education

When does the future start?

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” Mother Theresa This week I visited a school that had been struggling in the past couple of decades, but since the appointment of a new principal five years ago there has been an amazing transformation in almost every way imaginable. Students are wanting to come to school now, there’s no difficulty attracting staff, the learning programmes have been changed to be inspiring and learner-centred, and the tone of the school as you walk around reflects a culture of genuine caring, collaboration and pride in the … Continue reading When does the future start?

Lessons on strategy from riding a bike

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” Albert Einstein Riding a bike is something I’ve been doing since I was very young. It’s still something I do by choice to simply get around the place when the weather and time permit, and I enjoy it as a way of getting exercise by taking long rides along the river trails or, occasionally, up the hills around where I live. As I was out on my bike yesterday my mind wandered back to when I learned to ride, and some of the lessons that enabled … Continue reading Lessons on strategy from riding a bike

Courage and collectivity

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ Albert Einstein. Educational change has been a hot topic across the globe over the past decade or so. There are now libraries of books on the subject, and post-graduate degrees specialising the area. But despite all of this, achieving change seems a daunting task. There are a couple of important things to consider here. What change are we trying to achieve, and (more importantly) why? A quick look at … Continue reading Courage and collectivity

Building – and sustaining – innovation

With nearly 45 years of experience working in education, I find myself reflecting on exactly what it is I have achieved in that time. With each of my own kids now pursuing their own life ambitions, and now my eldest grand-kids at the age where they’re thinking about the ways they might contribute to society – there are often times we find ourselves discussing exactly what’s important in life. Generally we arrive back at the same place – we all want to have ‘made a difference’ in some way. I didn’t really think of doing anything but becoming a teacher … Continue reading Building – and sustaining – innovation

We all want trees – now!

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Chinese Proverb Whether we’re talking about climate change, the health system, education or environmental issues, a common refrain in much of the current rhetoric is the urgent need for action. This sense of urgency belies the fact that what needs to be done should have been started a long time ago, but by ignoring the signs, we’re now faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges in terms of the scale and complexity of the problems that lie before us – and our children. Consider the … Continue reading We all want trees – now!