It seems to me that culture and creativity are keys in facilitating the conditions for engaged learning. Teachers and students alike, in the ideals of 21st Century educational change, need to showcase the awareness of these concepts. Along with culture and creativity the educational skills of leadership which are showcased by leading and created through visible behaviours, much like trust (behaviours listed below) are key in building relationships which inturn supports learning.
I begin to highlight the specific ways we can affect change of teaching and learning for the 21st century in a positive way. In “Trust in Schools” Bryk & Schneider, share some conditions and stated that “school improvement research has documented that teacher’s orientation towards innovation is an important precondition for instructional improvement. Unless teachers internalize responsibility for improving student learning, better achievement remains unlikely. Similarly that urban schools must also foster greater parental involvement is well document. Without such involvement, students, students’ engagement with the school remains weak, and efforts to improve academic achievement will likely be frustrated, regardless of the actual quality of classroom teaching.” Therefore, the pre-condition to trust in school culture revolves around two big items.
- Orientation to innovation (creativity) – teachers and principals develop a can do attitude and internalize responsibilities to change their practice in order to advance student learning.
- Professional Community (relationships)– Teachers share a commitment to improving personal teaching and general school operations. The other piece examines the degree to which facilities’ work together to focus on student learning (well defined learning expectations and set standards for learning.
If these are the conditions that we focus on and work towards then we will be able to make a difference in learning for students and staff. If these happen consistently, we will all start to take ownership of the process and the success of student, school and district will happen!
If we look at creativity we can also see that there are certain behaviours that once facilitated lead to the improvement of learning , meaningful learning, engagement and what Mihaly Csikszentamihalyi calls “FLOW”. The conditions for this are listed below.
Once we , the education system, learn to tie these behaviours to Educational concepts like “Assessment for Learning” (AFL), then we can make connections to the similarities with other broad theories, bring them together and lead educators and students into a joint effort of improving learning for everyone.
Finally, Posner & Kouzes, “the Truth About Leadership” has synthesized what their research into 10 truths that are visible in good leaders and leadership. The more we embed these traits into our person the better we will be able to do our jobs of improving learning for studetns. I have taken all of the resources discussed above and made them visible for me to create an awareness of the commonality that exists in what I call “creating the contions for learning“. I believe that by focusing on the chart below, we can make a difference for the students in their journey through our schools and learning.
We can Create conditions by modeling these traits so that leaders in schools and schools themselves can facilitate them. I envision all learners having a greater opportunity and being engaged in their own learning journeys.