Courageous, Collaborative Leadership

Yesterday I attended the Utah Middle Level Association Conferece entitled "Sailing the Rough Water Years: Straight Jacket or Life Jacket?" I know, I am all conferenced out. My wife is sick of me going to conferences on Saturday also. I attended the session by Patti Kinney with the same title as this blog post. The really interesting thing about the session was that it was geared toward administrators and so the makeup of the room for the double-session session was about 1/3 old people (near retirement, if not past it), 1/3 experienced people, and then 1/3 very young people. One thing that Kinney talked about was the four generations in the workplace: the traditionals (b. 1900-45), the boomers (b. 1946-64), the Xers (b. 1965-81), the millenials (b. 1982-2002). So, to put it in her terms room was about 1/3 traditionals, 1/3 boomers and 1/3 Xers. I am so close to being a millenial, and I am pretty sure I was the youngest person in there. But, alas, I am a gen Xer, apparently, though I don't know what that means--but according to her graphic I have spiked hair, a spikey choker, earrings, and I stick my tongue out all the time. Who knew?

There are three things that I want to talk about regarding her presentation: first, pay attention; second, courage; and third, a research project.

First, I posted about a video last year sometime and I will embed the updated version here:

Kinney showed this video in a session with a bunch of administrators who are not typically into technology. Karl Fisch created this video to talk to his faculty about incorporating technology into their teaching. It was very interesting to watch it with a bunch of admins. Very different way to look at it. After it was over, she had us discuss in small groups this question: What does this mean for what we are teaching our students? Nobody mentioned technology, but they did mention teaching skills and not just feeding them information. I tied informational and technological literacy into that as well. We must also teach them how to teach themselves. They need to know how to learn on their own.

Second, she talked about how leaders need courage to lead. There are many times
where a leader needs to exhibit courage even when it is not the most popular course of action. Courage is derived from the French word couer which means heart. She said that at the heart of every school there needs to be a leader with courage...or something like that. As I will most likely be a vice principal before I am ever a principal, I think that it will take a lot of courage to disagree with my principal. Sometimes, there are things that a principal feels strongly about but just don't work. It is important to have the courage to say, "This sucks!"

Marzano, Walters and McNulty did some research and published it in School Leadership that Works and Kinney spoke very briefly to that research. There are 21 leadership responsibilities that impact student achievement. The top three are situational awareness, flexibility, and discipline. I have a hard time believing this. I am also concerned that this is not what I am learning my ed leadership classes. I find it hard to believe that those three are more impactful than some others like monitoring/evaluating, culture, communication, or some of the others. As I said, she only talked about it very briefly, so there is a lot that I was missing. Maybe I should read the book ;).

All in all, I thought she did a pretty good job presenting, and hopefully I can use some of this stuff.

Have a Good Life.