Advocating for more Transparency

Everyone once in a while I read a blog post that gives me a bit of a shiver. When something resonates so deeply with me that I’m compelled to respond right away.

Of course I subscribe to Will’s blog but it wasn’t until someone tweeted it again, did I go back to re read it, or read it properly. As I read it I realized I needed all our administrators to read it too. We have a division weblog of sorts that gets used primarily by me but felt that’s the best place to post the idea.  I’ve been pretty gentle with talking to teachers and administrators about sharing. I’ve hinted at the idea that it might be their professional responsibility, but Will’s post made the argument more compelling.

…there is certainly much I could learn from them if they were sharing. But most of them are not.

In this same vein, I have more and more of an expectation of the teachers and especially the administrators in our schools to lead transparent lives. The fact that they are veritably “un-googleable” in terms of finding anything they have created and shared and perhaps collaborated with others on troubles me on a number of levels. First, I can’t see for myself whether or not they are learners. And, almost more importantly, I get no sense as to whether or not they are leaders of learners. Whether they are in the classroom or in the front office, I want (demand?) the adults in my schools to be effective models for living in a transparent world. I want my kids to see them navigating these spaces effectively, sharing what they know, teaching others outside of their physical space, and contributing to the conversation.

Demand. Strong word which Will puts in parenthesis and adds a question mark behind it. I realize it’s tough to demand people to share but when we toss our phrases like “life long learner”, “professional responsibility”, “modeling” and “learning communities” these quickly become catch phrases that have little or no substance.  Even with our small school division of 40 schools, there are almost 80 school administrators that could be highly connected and learning from each other every day. Instead they gather a few times a year, spend most of the time catching up, complain a little and then address the more important issues, with a select few only to have time run out. That’s fixable. Easily. These are smart, caring, innovative people who should be learning with and from each other every day.  That goes for teachers, students and central office people. It’s been rewarding to work with pre-service teachers and lead them to this idea. Some may say I’ve forced them to share. But others have come to embrace it.

I’m going to start stepping up the language and if not demand, strongly encourage us to be more transparent.

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  • In the credentialist society embraced by “the west” since The Reformation leaders expect people to follow them simply because they have been declared “leaders” by persons previously declared “leaders” who have, in turn… This has created an immovable elite – an “elect” as Calvin would have put it – which stabilized society (the goal) by creating a massive, and permanent, underclass.

    The new technologies which have arisen in the past 15 years offer an opportunity for us to return to humane principles. People will be judged by their work and their contributions to society, rather than by their inbred status conferred by their birthrights to Oxbridge or the Ivy League, or by their ability to conform the norms of institutions granting degrees.

    Will is right. This must become a demand. Following leaders who will not demonstrate their leadership is probably, in Dylan’s phrasing, less logical than “worship[ping] parking meters.” We not only need the demonstration, we need the proof of ongoing education, of lifetime learning, of commitment to the future of knowledge.

    Ira Socols last blog post..A Toxic Mix and Children at Risk

  • For me, the question is HOW do we DEMAND our leaders to actively involve themselves in this online world of learning. I am attempting to establish small teams of learning communities at my own school, each team including an administrator. My vision is that members will stay with the team for a three-year cycle. Year one we will focus on teacher (and administrator) as learner, requiring teachers to keep a blog where they regularly showcase their reading and reflection and where they house a professional portfolio. Year two will focus on teacher as designer, having teachers design inquiry- or project-based units to use with their students. They will then showcase these units in a “21st Century Learning Showcase” open to the public. Year three will focus on teacher as collaborator, having them link their students, and in essence themselves, with people beyond our school walls.

    I know this is a worthwhile goal, and I believe, a workable plan. But, in the end, HOW will I DEMAND that the administrators actually blog regularly and produce a portfolio?

    Fear, I think, is our biggest enemy. We’re asking people to make their learning, their thinking, their writing transparent. That’s scary for many, for others downright threatening. How do we get them past their fear so that they’re willing to engage in the global conversation, so that they’re willing to risk others evaluating their work?

    Lisa Huffs last blog post..Head2Head: Teaching Students to Argue the Right Way

  • Alan Stange

    *Offers a strangled cheer and slinks back into the corner.

  • Pingback: Transparency and Professional Learning « Plugged-In Teacher()

  • Is that the building that used to be by the meats place at Vantage?

    Saskboys last blog post..TLt Conference – Leaders Forum – LIVEBLOG

  • @John
    I think so. If you mean the one on #2 just north of Assiniboia, then yes it is.

    Dean Shareskis last blog post..EdTech Posse 5.4 Grumpy Old Digital Residents