Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Unleashing the Teachers

The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been."
    Henry Kissinger

It is impressive to observe the number of people and organizations writing about 21st Century learning. It seems that daily there are more and more programs and ideas being written in a variety of resources and publications. Most recently, in an issue of Smart Brief in Educational Technology ( there are descriptions and stories about the use of social media in education, tablets in the classroom, or to iPad or not to iPad in PE.

What all this indicates to me is that despite the overwhelming push by the politicos to test, test, test, there are risk takers in education that are continuing the effort to move education forward.  People like Megan Palevich of Chester, PA using voice thread in her classrooms ( Or, Southfield Christian School in Michigan putting iPads in the hands of their teachers to enhance instruction (, or the Bethlehem Central School District in Delmar, NY that gave all of the administrators and supervisors iPads to enhance their work in evaluating and coaching faculty. 

There are many adventurous people in education, and sometimes the most daring and risk taking individuals are the teachers in a classroom that have the best interests and desires for their children to be prepared for the future. So what can school leaders do to encourage teachers to be risk takers:

1) Unleash a vision of curiosity.
    A principal or supervisor must announce a vision to be risk takers. They must take a stand on not being fearful of the political edicts that compartmentalize teaching into a cubicle of isolated learning. They should be encouraging and supporting teachers to venture from these cubicles of isolation.

2) Make professional development accessible to all faculty.
    Regardless of the economic times and lack of budgeted funds, teachers need professional development. They need to connect with ideas and people that have unleashed their curiosity to turn students on to learning.

3)  Connect your faculty to the global network of other teachers.
     When teachers learn to be connected to the global educators network they are more open to learning, attempting and trying new things. 

4) Lastly, be bold and willing to make a difference.

Here's hoping a new school year will bring about new thoughts about 21st Century School Leadership. And as Henry Kissinger reminds us, bring people to a new level of experiences and opportunities by your inspired leadership.

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