We should think bigger than teaching …

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It is of uttermost importance that teachers learn about new leadership called Transformational Leadership. Why? Because new leadership and progressive teaching have much in common, be it people, methods or learning itself.  Most importantly, new leadership means getting things done through people, not by people. Isn’t this what we, the teachers, should aim at?

Let us look at the characteristics of Transformational Leadership first. According to Bernard Bass we are looking at:

  • Idealised influence – the leader behaves according to high moral and ethical standards and so inspires confidence and loyalty in followers;
  • Inspirational motivation – the leader holds a strong vision for the future; the leader creates enthusiasm, builds confidence and inspires followers;
  • Intellectual stimulation – the leader challenges organisational norms; the leader encourages subordinates to be creative and innovative;
  • Individualised consideration – the leader is concerned with the personal and professional development of subordinates; acts as mentor or coach; consults with subordinates.

So as teachers, we should try to  move from knowing our subject matter and understanding various teaching methods towards connectedness, big picture and mobilizing people. Drawing leadership out of others matters. Significance of what people are doing matters.  Alignment to one’s purpose matters.

Another piece of advise for us to pick up is that there is a difference between a difficulty and a mess.  While a difficulty can typically be explained  and solved with current thinking, a mess is much more ambiguous. Sometimes we don’t even know where to start or what the real concern is. But that’s ok. It’s ok to be in a mess because that’s what life is all about.

Realisng that the classes we’re  teaching are messy by nature may seem peculiar and comforting at the same time. It’s good to know that a mess can’t be solved the way we would solve a problem.  So we shouldn’t focus on changing our students, but we should be working on changing the relationships between ourselves and our students.  We should think bigger than teaching …

This post is based on the cultural talk delivered by Adrian Underhill on 10 July 2018 at Bell Teacher Campus.