Marist Leaders write about the practice of Educational Leadership
Marist Educational Leadership Best Practice Forum
During the first weekend of our Marist Educational Leadership Program (MEL 2018), participants were asked to contribute their questions at the conclusion of Day 1. The respective responses were offered by other participants the next day. The group affirmed both questions and responses.
How do we best to create a low stakes environment (Brian Shaw)
A low stakes environment is one where we can set goals that are achievable and allow these to build into a knowledge and skill that develops over time. So how can we achieve this? Here are some thoughts:
· Allow students to fail in the smaller tasks because it is in failing that we discover our weaknesses which can then find solutions;
· Build scaffolding and tasks that are doable and progress in difficulty;
· Remember that all innovations come from failure’
· Communicating with parents and informing them about why failure is important and do not blame;
· Teach perseverance in students so that failure is acceptable;
· Set up a non-threatening environment for students and parents; and
· Show that your failures lead to learning.
How do we develop a balance between learning and performance? (Fintan Keane)
We are always learning and, as leaders, we can find ourselves always performing. Through trial and error, we can practise consciously taking time to “switch off” (especially when we are home) so that we can reflect and increase self-awareness. This will give us space for deep learning and a break from performance mode.
How do we develop a growth mindset amongst Colleague’s communal approach? (Loretta McNaught)
Dr Carol Dweck from Stanford University warns of the dangers of a fixed mindset where leaders assume a position of authority and determine all change within an organisation. Workers in an organisation, led by a fixed-mindset, become anxious about what the boss thinks and strive to please leadership, rather than focus on real innovation and constructive growth. Dweck refers to the power of ‘yet’ and suggests the phrase ‘not yet’ indicates that one is on a learning curve.
In order to promote a growth mind-set within an organisation, Carol Dweck suggests rewarding effort, strategy and progress. This growth mindset promotes greater learning and perseverance. Learning and perseverance need to be part of your school’s values. Skills are learnable and it is essential that leaders believe that this is achievable. Leaders must support learning and invest in time and resources to encourage a growth mindset, not only in students but also staff.
Farnam Street. (2018). Carol Dweck on creating a growth mindset in the workplace. [ONLINE] Available at: https://fs.blog/2016/11/workplace-mindset/. [Accessed 5 August 2018.]
Mindsetworks. (2018). Decades of Scientific research that started a growth mindset revolution. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/ . [Accessed 5 August 2018.]
How do we use language today as leaders? (Megan Finnigan)
The answer to this question is not a simple one, but is something we need to consider when communicating with others we meet in a school setting. We need to consider modelling and encouraging positive communication styles. We need to ask questions of ourselves such as “Do I use positive language that clarifies, motivates, and inspires?” It is important that we make others feel respected and valued. Use words of inclusion, e.g. “team”, “our”, “colleagues”, “teammates”. Use words of empowerment, e.g. “targets”, “goals”. Use words of success that energise others, e.g. “performance”, “achievement”.