Recently, through the magic of Twitter, I was introduced to @D_wearne’s blog. One of Daniel’s entries read, “Teaching methods and styles are changing. However, how much has the structure of management changed?” The rest of the blog can be found at….
Daniel’s blog entry resonated with me because the leadership/management structure which directly supports learning has come under question at the school of which I am Principal. Approximately six weeks ago, the Leadership Team forwarded a proposal to all teaching staff suggesting a change to the management/leadership structures which support learning. In short, the Leadership Team argued that the role description of the Key Learning Area (KLA) Co-ordinator, one that drives learning at the College, did not align with the future strategic learning directions of the College. Requirements around leadership of learning, understanding of contemporary pedagogy and using technology to support contemporary pedagogy are not articulated in the current role description. KLA Co-ordinators were addressing these ideals to some degree; however, they are not part of their role description.
In short, the proposal called for a re-writing of the middle manager/leader KLA role. With a new title of Pedagogy Leader, the proposed new role aimed to release a leader of learning from the mundane management of administration and compliance within their KLA. This new position of Pedagogy Leader would be complemented by a new and supporting KLA Administrator role. All in all, there were going to be more positions, more money and more time dedicated towards the proposed new structure to support learning at the College. The Leadership Team did not want the KLA Co-ordinator role to become, “an anchor in the sand with barnacles on it”. We were looking to develop a new role which best supported and more closely aligned with the strategic directions and learning priorities of the College.
To ensure there was deep consideration of the proposal, the Leadership Team ensured there was five weeks of consultation through various mediums including Staff Meetings, voluntary forums, an online “Q & A” document, one on one discussion and informal conversations. After reflecting on the feedback, the Leadership Team acknowledged there was confusion about the KLA Administrator role and accepted that not all teachers were in agreement with the proposed model. However, the Leadership Team reaffirmed its belief that the current KLA structure and the current KLA Co-ordinator Role Description would not support all strategic learning directions of the College into the future.
As a next step, the Leadership Team proposed an alternative structure which took into consideration the feedback and also fulfilled the desire of the Leadership Team to adopt a leadership/management structure which would best support the future learning directions of the College. The alternative model contained the following:
i) An updated KLA Co-ordinator role description to be known as KLA Leader. There will be nine (9) KLA Leaders and the role will contain a balance between subject specific priorities, student-centred pedagogy and matters of management. KLA leaders will work directly with the Dean of Curriculum, with occasional input from the Assistant Principal, to ensure cotemporary learning approaches within KLAs. To prepare for this, an initial draft Role Description will be developed by the Executive in consultation with KLA Co-ordinators throughout the first half of Term 4, 2012. The KLA Leader role description will finalised by the Principal in Week 5. After Week 5, there will be professional learning for KLA Leaders about their role in preparation of the 2013 school year.
ii) A new role to be known as Pedagogy Leader. From 2013, there will two (2) Pedagogy Leaders who will work directly with the Assistant Principal. Along with the Learning and Technology Co-ordinator and Inclusive Education Co-ordinator, this Pedagogy Team will work lead teachers to grow their understanding of teaching methods which allow for learning opportunities which involve students more in decision‐making processes about subject matter, learning methods and pace of study.
iii) A change to meeting arrangements in order to maximise our professional learning opportunities and model how we wish learning to be for our students. If learning is to remain relevant for our students, teacher meetings need to adopt a far stronger focus on professional learning with far less focus on management, administration and the like.
So, the question, “How much has the structure of management changed?” At the school of which I am Principal, there will be a significant change in the structure of management with a real focus on leadership of learning. I look forward to the implementation of a new structure, one which will serve in the best interests of preparing students for the rapidly changing world which awaits them post school.
24 September 2012