Our focus for the morning was thinking about and discussing systems. The actual definition of a system is a collection of interrelated elements that are organized for a common purpose. Most of the districts had already conducted interviews with their superintendents to consider the positives and negatives of their system. We brought our discoveries to Galileo and were given time to mull over how our particular districts fit into the definition of a system.
We completed a journal entry that asked: What is an effective learning system? This is an important question and encouraged us to really think about the elements. Here were some of the responses that we considered: purpose, leadership, people, assessment, autonomy, flexibility, and fluidity. Most of us agreed, though, that the most important element is communication. It all starts with effective communication.
We discussed the fact that system thinking is a holistic approach using tools and techniques to understand the interactions and interdependence. One of the greatest tools that can help each of us understand our district as a system is the following book:
Michael Fullan suggests that we think about our "systems" in the following way to help ensure success:
We viewed Michael Fullan's brief explanation of the coherence framework on the following YouTube link:
We talked about what our definition of reality is in our districts. Each successful educator needs to become a servant of sorts. Internal accountability is more important than external accountability. In other words, school level accountability is more important than state accountability.
Since we are always getting new titles at Galileo, we were told about the following resource:
- Mother nature – global warming
- Markets – Globalization of the markets
- Moore's Law
Change is good for everyone...or so they say. As educators, we have deal with change quite frequently in our jobs. We discussed what the six secrets of change are in the workplace. They are as follows: love your employee, cultivate collaboration, capacity building cultures, learning is the work, transparency rules, and systems learn. It is important to remember that change is a personal event. Behaviors change before beliefs. Change is always emotional, whether we realize it or not. As an individual, the ways that you undergo change impacts the individuals around you.
A great activity that we used in the beginning of the afternoon was titled, "The 5 Whys". It is useful in helping to get to the root cause of a problem. We were given an example using the Washington Monument and then asked to practice it with our groups. We agreed that this strategy can be immediately implemented in most of our classrooms.
We were lucky enough to have our Oakland University members discuss ways to improve professional learning/development. Throughout their presentation, they reiterated the fact that the staff needs to be active participants for it to be effective. The learning needs to focus on progression, not perfection.
One of the greatest resources that we were given today was regarding protocols. We discussed a few, but were encouraged to conduct some research on those protocols that would be helpful in our own classrooms. Visit the following National School Reform Faculty link:
By the end of the day, we were emotionally exhausted, but the way that we always do when we leave Galileo; we felt that we could go out and change the world. But, that really is the point, right?
P.S. Here is Joyce's PowerPoint...