The Courage to Lead

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One of the tough aspects of reading research is challenging your own past assumptions. I'd like to think that all the ideas I held to be true remain so today. But research reveals our misconceptions and misunderstandings of the facts. Like others, I am frightened that ideas I've long held dear must be set aside. That certain ways of using technology are not as valuable as once thought. The truth, though, can also redeem us. It can remind us that what we held to was not what the truth, but our fallible facsimile of it.

Check out this excerpt from Cathy Lassiter's Everyday Courage for School Leaders:

Intellectual courage is relevant to school leaders because, inevitably, we will come to see value in some ideas not previously thought to be valid or important. We need the courage to recognize the limitations of our own thinking in such circumstances (Lombardo, 2011). 
New research evidence and advancements in the science of learning are reported regularly at conferences and in research journals. This contemporary research is sometimes contradictory to present-day practices and beliefs about what works in schools and classrooms. 
School leaders must be open to new findings, ideas, conclusions, and recommendations that have the potential to revolutionize their thinking. 
In the end, we must all be willing to say: "I used to think... Now I think. . . because of. . ."

Think of Galileo's courage to argue that the Earth revolves around the Sun based on scientific evidence, or Columbus' theory of sailing west to get to the east on a spherical world, or modern environmental scientists arguing that climate change and global warming are the result of man's toxic gas emissions and destruction of rain forests. 
This kind of courage likens to John Hattie's revolutionary research in Visible Learning (2009). Many old assumptions about what works best in education have been disproven, thus challenging educators, policy makers, and researchers to rethink positions on certain instructional practices, and thereby enlightening all to other instructional practices that new research shows works best for students. 
Hattie calls on educators to "know thy impact." For leaders, this means changing from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. It means having the intellectual courage to look critically at the impact our actions and practices have on student learning and adjusting our actions accordingly to improve our impact on student learning....
What instructional practices have you adopted, what practices that you still hold that must be rethought as a result of contemporary research?

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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