Saturday, November 7, 2009
Reflections on my attendance at Expeditionary Learning Assessment for Learning for Leaders:
I had just about every excuse in the book for not attending the three day Expeditionary Learning for Leaders Institute in
So, as one who is willing listen to feedback from others, I decided to go.
Wednesday morning arrived in a smallish meeting room in the Hyatt in downtown
So anyway, I made it though that fist circle, but interesting, so little of it was about what we did, how long we have done it for, what school we lead, etc. that it actually just helps us deal with each. A community began to came together in that first circle and built over three days where there was a high level of sharing, problem solving, supporting, listening, and laughing between sixteen virtual strangers. Pretty cool.
The purpose of the workshop was to get school leaders at expeditionary schools to use principles of assessment for learning (primarily developed for the classroom) with staffs and individual teachers. We did this by analyzing the assessment for learning strategies, looking at different kinds of change, research on relational trust, reading parts of different texts including parts of the book Quiet Leadership by David Rock, and using what we learned to develop some sort of plan or idea for a plan to further strengthen assessment for learning strategies through coaching. All of this was accomplished in three days with only one “presentation” that lasted just about ten minutes. All of the other time was used with the instructional techniques of discussion, different grouping strategies, group initiatives, individual thinking time, reading and reflection, feedback protocols, and just plain deep thought coupled with social group learning. It was a powerful learning experience.
The biggest aha I had for my own school context was that despite all of the gains and growth our school has made in various areas, we are still have a feedback poor learning culture for adults in the building. This comes from various different areas but mostly from me. I am somewhat feedback adverse for whatever reason. Part of the institute had me develop an action plan for my work at Greer. I won’t bore you with the specific details about this plan except that it has us trying to put some structures and protocols together to help our coaches actually coach and allow teachers to peer coach each other. Just as important or even more importantly for myself, it has me forcing myself to improve my ability to give feedback by just doing it. We will see how it goes.
I am riding kind of a learner’s high right now which is powerful enough to last for my than just a little while. It is always a struggle to keep these experiences lasting but it is worth a try.