The school is a very unique context. Just about all of us have an experience of school, good and bad, and many of us are happy to replicate it, supported by the dubious argument ‘it didn’t do me any harm’… did it? Could it have been any better for you? Don’t our young people deserve better than what we had? Casting an exciting vision for a preferred future is a courageous act. The if-it-aint-broke-brigade is more than happy to challenge and stall change. But change is an essential component of the preferred future to make learning relevant and engaging to this generation.
About 300 educational visitors have made their way to Northern Beaches Christian School, this year. They’ve come from Sydney, NSW and interstate schools as well as NZ, Macau, UK, Sweden and Canada. Their comments and feedback are very encouraging, they see engaged students who can articulate how they learn, they see motivated and committed teachers, they see supportive leadership and they see welcoming and comfortable spaces for learning. But what they didn’t see was the relentless pursuit of a vision for school education that has been a five year journey. Embedding change within a school won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Sydney Centre for Innovation in Learning commenced life in 2005 as a research and development centre located within Northern Beaches Christian School as a vehicle to foster creativity and innovation and embed this into the life of the school. What our visitors see today is an example of the relentless pursuit of vision.
The journey has (unknowingly) incorporated each of Kotter’s Eight Steps for Leading Change (1996). 30 years of research by leadership guru Dr. John Kotter have proven that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail because organizations often do not take the holistic approach required to see the change through (http://www.kotterinternational.com/KotterPrinciples/ChangeSteps.aspx).
- Acting With Urgency
- Developing the Guiding Coalition
- Developing a Change Vision
- Communicating the Vision Buy-in
- Empowering Broad-based Action
- Generating Short-term Wins
- Don’t Let Up
- Make Change Stick
For the relentless pursuit of vision each of these steps is essential to see change through.