Just yesterday, I read this……
“If you don’t have a common, agreed-on destination, then everyone is left to his or her own devices to imagine one—a scenario that results in unharnessed and unfocused efforts, with everyone believing that what he or she is doing is right. A common understanding of the destination allows all stakeholders to align their improvement efforts. And the best part of planning for this journey is that it doesn’t cost anything to decide where you want to go.” http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107042/chapters/developing-a-vision-and-a-mission.aspx
I strongly believe that the most important responsibility of any effective educational leader is to share, implement and lead a vision which articulates best thinking about teaching and learning, which then inspires students and teachers to reach for ambitious goals.
Through experience and learning, I understand that a well articulated vision results in a common language which informs teachers, parents and students of the WHY about WHAT you do and HOW you do it. I have also found that authentically pursuing the Vision affirms, supports, questions and challenges the school directions regarding many areas, including the following:
- professional learning for teachers: pedagogy discussions, use of technology and learning spaces;
- assessment practices: valuing the process of learning, not just the product of learning;
- the value of skills as compared to the value of content;
- leadership roles and leadership structures;
- teacher and support staff appointments;
- subject offerings and timetable construction; and,
- data sources. Measure what you value rather than value what you measure!
I know this may sound simplistic and may even appear to ignore the complexities of schools and the diversity of leadership requirements of school principals; however, without Vision, you have a rudderless ship, or, “unharnessed and unfocused efforts, with everyone believing that what he or she is doing is right.”
Lastly, we all need to remember the words of the great Nelson Mandela……
Hence the need for each school to have a Vision for Learning and then ACTION it!
- Do you have a Vision? If so, what is it?
- Is it widely shared? If so, is it widely understood and how do you know?
- Do you use your Vision to make decisions about learning?
I would appreciate your thoughts.