For once, I’m actually completing a timely reflection blog post, as sessions 6 just occurred this afternoon/evening! Tonight’s session was radically different for me from Session 5 on Leading Change. While the fifth session was mainly new information and concepts that are somewhat removed from my daily classroom and school experience, session six was firmly rooted in my experiences so far in my teaching career. We explored Collaborative Inquiry, the School Effectiveness Framework, and the Instructional Core, all of which I have been engaging in/with for multiple years now.
The learning for me tonight came from the cross-panel and inter-school discussions of the different forms that Collaborative Inquiry and School Improvement Planning are taking from school to school and from elementary to secondary. As well, tonight’s discussions really pushed me more toward the system view and vision of collaborative inquiry through the lens of the instructional core. My group kept coming back to all of these processes beginning with the students – with student need and with student voice. We drew a bidirectional arrow between the classroom level and the school level of the Instructional Core: student learning need informs teacher learning need which informs school leader learning need and School Improvement Plan; SIP in turn informs school leader practice and teacher instructional practice which comes back to student experience and learning in classrooms. Continual re-evaluation and readjustment are necessary, which is why inquiry is a cycle meant to have multiple iterations, in order for student needs to be addressed.
We also watched a short clip of Dr. Steven Katz on curriculum.org in which he talks about intentionally interrupting the status quo in your instructional practice in order to identify and address student learning needs. Our facilitator shared that the school leader can be that interruptor – he or she can provide the time and space for teachers to be reflective about their instructional tasks and to plan with purpose, always keeping the student at the centre.
After tonight’s session, I’ve realized that I need to revisit my developing final project, which is my personal leadership journey based on the OLF, SAT, and my strengths and growth areas. Although it’s my journey, I definitely have not put students and their needs in the forefront of my thought and initial creation of this personal growth plan. It’s been so energizing to see how much this course makes me think, question, and re-evaluate.