April 6, 2009

Advocating for more Transparency

This post was last updated on September 27th, 2011 at 10:16 am

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.