Step 1: Find your true north
Step 2: Do everything that will make Step 1 happen
Many of us agree that the historical model of school is broken and not serving the future, or even the present. Often the factory analogy of separation is used to describe the education that many of us received:
Separated preparation and planning
This model has led to teachers as the driver, represents dependence and independence (not interdependence), one size fits all, confrontation, control and the relational tensions that often arise. Students usually become either compliant and passive vessels, or defiant and active resistors.
Many educators know that transformation is essential, collaboration is necessary and rethinking student success an imperative. We also know that it’s not a simple thing to transform a school, but perhaps distilling the magnitude of change to a few key priorities can help.
Our team at SCIL, the innovation centre at NBCS in Sydney, works with educators to kick-start or facilitate one or a few priorities on the journey of change. When edu-visitors come to the school I often sense they are overwhelmed by the possibilities and sometimes have difficulty articulating the impact of the experience. We notice that there can be two main responses:
I want to do everything
I can’t do anything
Over time we have refined our process and program for the day to help visitors interpret the experience and begin to articulate their next steps. Essential to this is the concept of navigating the journey and finding their own ‘true north’. What they are seeing when they come to NBCS is almost 10 years of development. It didn’t happen overnight, but under Stephen Harris’ leadership this ship is navigating toward ‘true north’.
Step 1: Find your ‘true north’
Authentic leadership requires a compass to guide and map the path ahead. Mariners know that locating true north is essential for accurate navigation. Magnetic north varies from place to place over time. To find true north it is necessary to know, but not follow, local magnetic variations. Finding your true north, rather than the magnetic north, will mean that you aren’t meandering but focussed on where you are going.
What is ‘true north’ for your students? It may be something like: To create learning culture that gives every student every opportunity to succeed.
What is ‘true north’ for your staff? It may be something like: To support and challenge educators to grow and stretch as they provide students every opportunity to succeed.
What is ‘true north’ for yourself? It may be something like: To be the leader that my team/school needs me to be for their success.
Once true north is identified and success is articulated, then what? Perhaps it is gaining alignment of your community across a few important areas:
renewing parent and community mindsets
And then setting your priorities and milestones that will break down the ‘separated’ mindset:
Articulating the desired culture for learning, relating and leadership
Rethinking pedagogy that empowers the learner
Questioning everything that has been traditionally associated with ‘school’
Establishing shared language
Ensuring collaboration on all levels
Creating the physical and virtual environment to support
When the teams leave NBCS after their day we hope they have been given the time and space to process and develop at least one ‘next step’. Transforming the concept of school, something that is so embedded in our society, is not for the faint-hearted.
But we feel, at least, that as we grow a tribe of like-minded and committed educators we all know we are part of something very important, life-changing.
To visit Northern Beaches Christian School and find out more about what we do at SCIL visit our website