Monday, April 29, 2013

Chapter 8 -- Transforming Leadership for a Connected World

In your school, have you been invited to take a leadership role or have you put yourself in a leadership role? If you are a school leader, have you encouraged "distributed leadership" in your school? It would also be interesting to hear if any of your schools have empowered students to become leaders.


  1. At my school I have not been invited to be a school leader. In fact there are times it seem like we have to many chiefs and not enough Indians. However, in my circle I do take on the role of leadership. I do wish they did do more with the students to empower them to learn how to be leaders. Other than the students involved with FFA I do not see the leadership being taught or encouraged.

  2. Avon loves student leaders. An AP who has been there for four years now reorganized Student Government and sponsors actively work to make Student Council a vibrant presence in the school.

    Cindy, I worked at a school with too many chiefs. I learned that if Teacher Leaders aren't put to work in such a way that utilizes their unique talents, these great teachers can turn negative. Teacher Leaders have energy and they need to put it to positive use for the school. So if there isn't a place for these teachers to do that, they can become negative. That's no good.

    Because I was a librarian for 14 years, I am just used to being out there. Now as an English teacher, I still do a lot of PD. That's my thing and the direction where I want to be headed because I love Curriculum & Instruction.

    In my recent principal class at UIndy, we learned about the Stages of Concern that Sheryl & Lani describe on page 118 of The Connected Learner. Several members of our class, including me, were really drawn to these descriptors. In the school I just described, there was negative energy. I believe had I known about these 7 Stages of Concern, I would have understood the underlining motivations behind some of the teachers' concerns and actions and questions. I would have better understood that a certain teacher, for example, wasn't being a pain by asking 50 million questions at a staff meeting; she just needed to understand how the "new thing" or mandate would affect her personally because she was going through a difficult home life and lived 45 miles away. Just learning about the Stages of Concern could help any teacher or principal make a lot of sense out of some of the encounters they have with teachers. And knowing these Stages of Use and the Levels of Concern, which my class learned about, too (We studied a guy named Guskey) helps us be more aware and even empathetic, as we all move through these stages and level at some points in our career, I think.

  3. Unfortunately this doesn't relate to my position. From a parent's perspective, I wish my daughter's school would do more to encourage and to provide leadership opportunities.

  4. Reading this chapter was interesting- especially the part about leaders as learners and about modeling and empowering distribution of leadership. I think my school is moving towards this model of teachers taking leadership roles both formally and informally, as modeled by our administration.

    I do take a leadership role in our school, both by invitation and by my own initiative. I love using technology with my students, so I try to be "contagious" about it. I am on the technology committee in our school, and as such I get asked to lead "Techie Tuesday" training sessions almost monthly to train the staff. I have led training for the entire corporation, and other teachers have asked me to present with me at conferences. At times I think our staff gets tired of those of us on the Tech Committee (and a few others with great tech leadership and skills) doing the presenting, so we've tried to distribute the leadership, involving other teachers in our training sessions, sort of a "train the trainer" thing. We have not really empowered students with technology yet- some serve as tech interns but not really as student leaders. I'm sort of like Cindy in that matter- other than NJHS, no students really step up (or are given much of a chance). But maybe that's something I can work on in my classroom- start with my circle of influence and see where it goes from there. I'm with Sandy- I wish we could do more with student leadership (I had a class this year with no strong positive student leaders- the best students were so passive and took no ownership in the class, so two girls with toxic negative personalities totally were able to change the climate of the class- teaching students positive leadership is SO important).

    Catherine, I like what you said about stages of concern- it really clicks with me. I think our staff needs to see that model- it would help foster collegiality instead of competition and frustration. I hadn't thought yet about how that would apply to my students- but I may revisit that and include it in my reflection as I start the year next year (I may be teaching all 6th graders for the first time, so I will have to adapt to beginning learners ALL day long without my older students who already know the ropes- I can see the stages of concern being a real "aha" moment for me).

    1. I agree. This was an interesting chapter.

  5. My district is a capacity building district. We have several committees whose members volunteer to serve. We are a "distributed leadership" community. Reading this chapter illuminated this for me. The book refers to this type of grouping as action teams. All I know is that it works. I have never thought of myself as a leader because I work so closely with others. It is easy to miss this aspect when you are so involved in the collaboration and the work involved with accomplishing goals. Yes, I am always encouraging others to assume a leadership role. At a recent tech committee meeting, I told others that they were leaders in the district because we were discussing the eLearning summer conferences and Valpo. in particular because it is so close to our district. At the building level we also utilize common prep time and have adjusted the start time to allow for staffs and teams to collaborate. We also have students who sit on committees and who are part of the principal's team at the high school.