Archive for the ‘Leadership’ category

Involvement in the Decision-Making Process

August 15, 2011

Involvement in the

Decision-Making Process

 

Involvement

Decision-Making

Relevance

Competence

Implementation

Responsibilities

Accountability

 

Preface

 

During the summer of 1970 Mr. William Phinney and I worked on the following statement relative to the concept of involvement in the decision-making process within the Quincy Public Schools. More than two years has passed since the paper was shared with the leadership of the school system.

What has happened in the intervening two years? Does involvement characterize decision making in the Quincy Public Schools? If so, where? If not, why? Should it? And, if so, how we move to make involvement a reality?

In the American experience it has often been suggested that the public school ought to be a microcosm of a democratic society. It should be the social institution where young people learn through first-hand and real experiences about participation in the decision-making process of a democratic society.

If that is to happen, then a prerequisite to it is the involvement of the educational community in the decision-making process of the school system.

In the term: “involvement in the decision-making process” the key word is “process”. How is it to be accomplished so that each person who does become involved feels that he made a contribution?

How do we guard against people feeling that they are being “used” and consequently calls for involvement become suspect? How do we overcome the lingering feeling on the part of some that involvement is just “window dressing” and that “they” have already made the decision?

How do we differentiate between the democratic ideal of involvement and the reality of accountability for those who have been elected or appointed to positions of leadership?

I am well aware that those of us who serve as public educators today are confronted with many critically important questions and that each begs for our attention. However, to my mind, none is more important than governance. How do we best organize so that we can do what we do best – assist young people to come to know in an environment where he who is to be affected by a decision has shared in the process of making that decision?

 

Lawrence P. Creedon

November, 1972

 

 

 

Involvement in the Decision-Making Process

 

As educators  within the Quincy Public Schools each of us shares in the responsibility for implementing an educational program with, not for, the young people of Quincy that is relevant to what each needs to know, and is presented to each in a manner and taught  in an environment that is responsive to the learning style of each individual. If each of us shares in the responsibility for implementing such a program, then it follows that each should share in the development of the program and each should be held accountable for not only its relevance but its effectiveness. Obviously each of us cannot be expected to develop a K-12 and beyond program in the cognitive, affective or psycho-motor domains, nor can each of us be held singularly responsible or accountable for the implementation and effectiveness of a relevant instructional program. However, each of us must be involved and participate in the process that leads to decision making in the Quincy Public Schools.

 

Indeed, involvement must not be limited to those of us who have been appointed to administrative posts; but rather involvement must provide for meaningful input from all our colleagues and associates professional, custodial, clerical, maintenance and other service personnel.

It must provide for input from students and parents as well as from concerned citizens of this community.

 

I have spoken on this issue before and have no doubt but that I’ll speak on it again and again. To me involvement in the decision-making process is a prerequisite skill, an on-going concern, and an ultimate goal necessary for the development, implementation and effectiveness of a relevant-individualized educational program. My personal list of priorities for achieving quality education in the Quincy Public Schools is extensive; however, there is none higher than involvement. Involvement is the process vehicle through which our humanistic and academic goals can be realized.

In order to develop, implement and assess a relevant instructional program K-12 we must involve one another. In order to be certain that we know as much as we possibly can about how each one of our 17,000 students learns we must involve one another. In order to make the best utilization of space, learning materials and technology we must involve one another. In order to rest assured that our in-service training needs are being met, and that our staff and human resources are being properly allocated and developed we must involve one another.

 

In short I am asking that involvement in the decision-making process become “a”, (not the) hallmark of an educational system for the seventies in Quincy.

 

While we have been talking about involvement in the decision-making for the past several years, in my opinion we are on an absolute scale or measure, far short of what I feel ought to be our end-in-view.

 

Involvement or participation in the decision-making process does not lend itself to easy definition. It is more in the becoming than the being; it is more in the doing than the done. It is existential in character. Democracy and involvement are not always synonymous terms. In our context participation in the decision-making process does not mean one man one vote. It is not an abdication or violation of trust by those who have been charged with administrative and leadership responsibilities. It is not a revolt against authority and responsibility in favor of an egalitarian community, institution or society.

 

Participation in the decision-making process means that he who is to be affected or influenced by a decision, an action, ought to be involved in the process that leads up to making that decision.

 

Involvement must be based on competence, and it is competence that must be defined. To share in the process of decision making on a particular task or issue an individual needs to be cognitively and affectively competent.  He must reflect:

  1. An awareness of the task need or issue.
  2. A  knowledge of the task, need or issue as the result of study and research.
  3. A realization that ultimately when a decision is made it will affect his actions.
  4. A desire to be involved in the decision-making process.
  5. An ability to interact with other human beings.
  6. A willingness to act in good faith in support of a decision that has been made in good faith.
  7. An appreciation that all decision are subject to review based on new or more clearly defined input.

 

What is the state of the art today within the Quincy Public Schools?

In my opinion it is as follows:

  1. As Superintendent I have a deep commitment to the concept of participation in the decision-making process.
  2. A four-team model has been developed and in some instances is operational.
  3. The Instructional Planning Team and Learning Management Team groups are struggling with what task are most appropriately theirs for decision making and for recommending to another body.
  4. Principals are asking where do they fit individually and collectively in the decision-making process.
  5. E.C.T functions spasmodically and where they are in existence they are frequently not clear of their role, tasks, authority and responsibilities.
  6. Assistant principals, Department Heads, classroom teachers, staff and support personnel along with custodial, clerical and service personnel have no clear place in the decision-making process.
  7. Students are seldom meaningfully involved in decision making.
  8. Community groups are not involved except for the Compensatory Education Board, Headstart. E.D.C. and P.C.C.
  9. A conscious effort for involvement based on competence has not categorized participation in the decision-making process.
  10. The existing model for decision making is inadequate.

 

It is neither intended nor necessary that any of us should feel guilty about our admitted inadequacies in developing and implementing an effective model for participation in the decision-making process. It is very doubtful, that we will over be satisfied with a vehicle for decision making that reaches out for involvement.

Therefore, in appreciation of what we have been attempting to do, yet in realization that we need to refine our thinking, modify our vehicle and move to the next plateau I would like so share with you some of my current thinking on “Next Steps”.

 

Recommendation One: Leadership Assembly

 

I am proposing that we establish an Educational Leadership assembly. Membership in the Educational Leadership Assembly will be extended to all persons within the school system who are in positions of leadership. Among the professionals this would include all those from the position of department head or assistant principal on up.

 

In addition persons in key leadership positions from the non-professional, para-professional, custodial, clerical, maintenance, and service groups would be included. Leadership from the several associations would be included.  Representatives from students, parent and community groups would be included.  Representatives from private and parochial schools within Quincy would be included. The assembly might number up to 150 people.

The purpose of the Assembly will be information giving. I t will not function as a forum, dialogue or decision-making group. The sole purpose of the Assembly will be to disseminate pertinent information to key people within the educational community of Quincy.

 

The assembly will meet three or four times each year. Agenda items will be limited to reports on on-going efforts within the school system, or programs approved for future development.

 

Recommendation Two: Forum on Curriculum Relevance

 

I am proposing that we establish a Forum on Curriculum-Relevance. The purpose of the Forum will be to hear proposals for curriculum development and make recommendations to the I.P.T. In establishing such a Forum consideration needs to be given to:

  1. Membership
    1. Size
    2. Representation
      1. Students
      2. Teachers
      3. Department Heads
      4. Assistant Principals
      5. Principals
      6. I.P.T.
      7. Community
      8. Operating Procedures
        1. Chairmanship
        2. Voting
        3. Agenda Building
        4. Parliamentary Procedures
        5. Meetings
        6. System of Priorities
      9. Degree of Authority and Extent of Accountability

 

Recommendation Three: Principals Self Analysis of Personal Role and

                                                     Building Goals   

 

I am proposing that each principal devote up to one week in personal refection away from the day-to-day operational demands of administering a school in order to give in-depth consideration to an analysis of his role consistent with his stated five years goals.

 

In analyzing your role measured against your five-year goals I would ask that each principal give consideration to:

  1. Tasks that you need to perform
  2. Tasks that others need to perform for you or in support of you if you are to realize your goals.

 

Your five year goals need to be stated in terms of the dimensions cited in our Systems Approach Chart. Your role needs to be defined in terms of what tasks identify you as the educational leader of your building, what tasks are managerial and need to be performed by other members of your staff and what tasks go beyond your sphere of influence to control and need to be performed by someone external to your building and staff.

 

I am recommending that this task be performed outside the physical confines of the school and during this period that the operational responsibility for the school be turned over to the assistant principal.

I am encouraging each principal to avail himself of his opportunity prior to the February recess.

 

Conclusion:

 

By way of conclusion I would like to review a few of the major points I have attempted to make and then make a request of the principals and the Instructional Planning Team:

  1. Involvement in the decision-making process ought to characterize decision making in the Quincy Public Schools.
  2. The concept of participation in the decision-making process is an evolving one. There is no set formula for accomplishing involvement. The process must be under constant assessment and re-assessment.
  3. Within the Quincy Public Schools we have made some significant gains at developing and implementing a vehicle for participation in the decision-making process.
  4. Participation in the decision-making process is not synonymous with one man one vote and must be based on competence.

 

I would now ask that he principals in respective groups at the elementary and secondary levels as well as the I.P.T. consider the observations I have made and in particular the three recommendations.  I have not attempted to “order” in these recommendations what it is that we must do next. I appreciate that the recommendations are just that. They are not conclusive; they are suggestive. I have not attempted to answer all the questions attendant to these recommendations. I simply don’t have all of these answers.

 

Through Mr. Nolan, Mr. Woodward and Mr. Phinney I am requesting an opportunity to meet with the elementary principals, the secondary principals and the I.P.T. in order to explore the appropriateness and feasibility of the observations and recommendations I have made.

 

 

Lawrence P. Creedon,  Superintendent

1972

          

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Collaborative Leadership and Participatory Decision Making – An Experience.

August 15, 2011

Collaborative Leadership

and

Participatory Decision Making – An Experience.

Lawrence P. Creedon

This piece considers the rise, development and demise of a 20 year effort in collaborative leadership and participatory decision making.

The Concept

Those who are to be affected by a decision ought to be involved in the process of  making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made

Introduction

Collaborative Leadership and Participatory Decision Making [CL/PDM], is much talked about and little practiced. To begin with, neither is easy. Traditional line-staff, autocratic, bureaucratic, command, control and comply [AB C] procedures are and have been the norm. However, an ABC approach is in fundamental conflict with the ubiquitous proclaimed school mission statements that among the purposes of the school is to prepare young learners to live and participate in a democratic society. Traditionally in organizational structure, including decision making, learning environment, and instructional process schools have not made good on that assertion and have not been exemplars of CL/PDM.

In the United States the recent federal initiative known as “No Child Left Behind” with its emphasis on standardized testing is one example. NCLF is closer to a command control and comply process than it is to less autocratic approaches. In contrast and again in the USA the three decade old initiative in Charter Schools has been a step toward CL/PDM.

In international schools where private ownership of schools is more prevalent and where financial profit is frequently a factor, centralized leadership and decision making is the norm.

A committee structure for involving faculty in decision making while increasingly common is seldom an adequate example of CL/PDM. Certainly it is closer in design and implementation than ABC, but it falls short when measured against CL/PDM.

Focus

This paper will focus on:

  1. A brief synopsis of the theory and history of CL/PDM
  2. Four fundamental characteristics of CL/PDM
  3. An example of a 20 effort in conceptualizing, developing, implementing, assessing and all but abandoning the effort.

Theory and History

The democratic ideal of citizen involvement in their  own governance is at the root of CL/PDM. That ideal extends to the school – the primary institution within a democratic society for fostering democratic ideals and processes in the young. As indicated at the outset of this monograph and simply stated: Those who are to be affected by a decision ought to be involved in the process of making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made.

In many, if not most, quarters collaborative leadership and participatory decision making are looked upon as innovations. And to some, the concepts are fanciful, far-fetched initiatives promoted by those on the fringe of the progressive movement. However, the concepts do seem to be in conflict with an era that has focused its attention on authoritarian practices evidenced by the quality through testing movement. While viewing CL/PDM as a contemporary fashionable approach to leadership and organizational development that characterization is not accurate.

The concepts of CL/PDM are not of recent origin. They are embedded in democratic ideals. In the context of leadership and management in the world of work contemporary thinking in these areas dates back to at least the 1930s. The Human Relations Movement began then with George Mayo [1880 – 1949] as its first guru. The “Hawthorne Studies” became well known so that to this day reference is still made to the “Hawthorne Effect.” In short, the Hawthorne Effect referred to a situation where no actual change took place in the work place, but workers were led to believe that their surroundings had improvement and thus production went up. The hallmark of Mayo’s work was his belief arrived at through experience and observation that the primacy given to human organizations as human cooperative systems rather than mechanical contraptions made the difference in organizational harmony and accomplishment.

In 1960 Douglas McGregor published his now classic study of organizational behavior known as Theory X and Theory Y in his book The Human Side of the Enterprise. Theory X organizations were identified as being authoritarian where workers were viewed as lazy, lacking in motivation, self-centered and resistant to change. In contrast Theory Y organizations were more democratic where workers were self-motivated, sought responsibility and were committed to fulfilling the objectives of the work place.

In the era before and after World War II, Kurt Lewin [1925-1947] was prominent. Lewin is frequently credited as the father of social psychology including group dynamics and organizational development.  Also he is associated with the development of the notions of “Force Field Analysis” and “Action Research.” Lewin identified three types of organizations: authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. In the area of the change Lewin categorized the process into three phases:

  1. Unfreezing: Overcome inertia and current mind-set
  2. Change: Characterized by confusion and transition
  3. Freezing: Not refreezing, but the reestablishment of a comfort zone

Warren Bennis [1925 – ] has been frequently identified among the top leadership theorists and practitioners of modern times. He is credited with being a strong promoter of democratic approaches to leadership and organizational development. For example in 2007 Business Week quoted him in his belief that “ humanistic democratic-style leaders are better suited to deal with complexity and change that characterizes today’s leadership environment.”

There are many others leading spokes people in support of CL/PDM. However, the four cited above are generally recognized as the fathers of the democratically based human relations movement.

Four Fundamental Characteristics

Four fundamental characteristics of CL/PDM are:

1.Commitment to the concept and ideal

2. A climate for change

3. Mutual trust and respect

4. Involvement in decision making, implementing and assessment

Foremost of the four is commitment at the top of the organization or institution. Policy makers and the most senior leadership authorities must be committed to the concept and the ideal. Loss of that will lead to the demise of the effort as will be noted farther on in this paper. Commitment is a key factor in developing the climate – the environment – for mutual trust to develop and thus involvement in the quest for CL/PDM.

Quite possibility faculty and staff will be skeptical about overtures from the top calling for a climate and process conducive to CL/PDM. They may feel that there is an ulterior motive involved. Trust may be lacking as the result of past actual or perceived behavior of those on top. They may look for and expect concrete and specific examples of the concept in the here and now.

It is not uncommon that those in policy making positions such as school owners [both those active in the management of the organization and those more passive and absentee], boards of directors, or publically elected or appointed school boards will doubt the wisdom CL/PDM. The feeling may be plain and simple that those appointed to lead ought to lead. CL/PDM may be viewed as a weakness and the shirking of responsibility.

Unions and employee associations might also have misgivings and doubts about the intent of CL/PDM. They may exhibit distrust in the motives of those on top who are calling for CL/PDM. They may come to the table with an “us-against-them” mind-set.

Finally, among the general population of the school or organization faculty and staff there will be those who doubt the wisdom and need for change. They may have reputations as “Nay-sayers” toward most efforts at reconsidering the status quo of things as they are and have been.

Speeches alone promoting CL/PDM from those on top will not create the climate for CL/PDM to take root and develop. As the sayings go: Actions speak louder than words and By their fruits you will know them.

Commitment, climate, trust, and involvement are circular. Addressed in linear fashion each alone will not suffice. The four are interrelated and inter-dependent. However, the seed of the whole concept is commitment. Without continuous, lasting and action-based commitment at the top, trust will not take root and without trust a desirable, positive climate will not prevail.

Experts external to the local area regardless of how well credentialed they might be cannot provide for commitment, climate, trust and involvement. These four basic and vital compounds are planted, grown and harvested in the context of concrete, specific situations. They will not flourish and bear fruit as abstract, theoretical concepts. Outside authorities can offer counsel on how to proceed and can assist in providing relevant theoretical, historical and experience-based data, but the seeds of commitment, climate and trust resulting in involvement are local and come from within. Indeed there are skills involved in the whole process and outside authorities can assist in facilitating their identification, development and application.

Establishing and implementing a program characterized by commitment, trust and climate is a never ending process. It is not something that has an alpha and an omega. The banner of Mission Accomplished ought never to be flown. The four components together are the source of fuel that propels the organization and like other fuels it is consumed in use. It is refreshed through continuous, active commitment at the top.

An Era of Collaborative Leadership and Participant Involvement and Innovation.

A renewed era of innovation in leadership and participant involvement in decision making, implementation and assessment within the Quincy, Massachusetts, USA public schools began in 1963 with the arrival of Robert E. Pruitt as superintendent of the nearly 20,000 student school system. Mr. Pruitt came from the University of Chicago School of Education where he had served as assistant director of the University Laboratory School. The School of Education grew out of the Cook County Normal School in Chicago where  American philosopher John Dewey and Colonel Francis W. Parker were among the founders.  Colonel Parker had previously served as the first superintendent of schools in Quincy from 1865-1870. At the time the entire faculty of the Quincy school system numbered 30. During the more recent renewed era of innovation from 1963 – 1984 the faculty numbered approximately 2000. Professor Merle Curti, Harvard University in his book The Social ideas of American Educators is among those authorities who have observed that progressive education in the United States began in Quincy, MA under Colonel Parker.

Superintendent Pruitt served from 1963 – 1969 and did so in the progressive tradition of Colonel Parker. I served as superintendent and the 13th successor of Parker from 1969 – 1984. I continued in the progressive tradition of Parker and Pruitt.

What follows is a synopsis of what I consider and recall as the significant events in the more recent rise, development, implementation and demise of CL/PDM in Quincy. These views, accurate or not, fanciful or not, biased or not, embellished or not capture the 20 year renewed period of innovation as I experienced it, contributed to it and lived it.

Policy Makers: Democratically Elected School Board

The seven member city-wide democratically elected school board of Quincy played a vital role in the progressive orientation of the Quincy Public Schools. The board did not consist of professional educators and was not appointed, but rather was made up of a cross section of locally elected citizens of Quincy. Traditionally board members were openly and aggressively committed to the quest for quality education for the approximately 20,000 young people of the community. As a whole the Board personified a progressive approach to education. The Quincy Public Schools [QPS] had a long tradition of progressive education. For example, Quincy was among the first school systems to establish junior high schools in departure from the then prevailing eight year grammar school and four year high school model. Quincy was early in establishing a special education department, guidance services, kindergartens, a 13th-14th year vocational-technical education program and a two-year associate degree community college. The Board welcomed and encouraged innovation. It functioned as architects of policy and did not attempt to micro-manage. However, much of that changed including the orientation of newly elected members of the Board. Beginning with the decade of the 1980s successive Boards played a role in the demise of the renewed period of innovation.

Challenging the status Quo

Superintendent Pruitt arrived in Quincy from the University of Chicago in 1963 and ushered in a period committed to challenging the status quo and establishing a climate for change. For the duration of his five year tenure, Mr. Pruitt promoted the concept of CL/PDM as it was then understood. With the passage of time, research, a host of initiatives in many school systems the concept has developed from what it was in the decade of the 1960s.

Superintendent Pruitt stressed the importance of climate – a climate of mutual trust and respect. He promoted the notion of a systemic approach to the mission of the school system, to learning and to management. He embraced the newly enacted Massachusetts law granting educators collective bargaining rights and privileges. In fact Quincy was among the first in the USA to establish a collective bargaining agreement [a contract] between a school board and a teachers association.

As an assistant to Mr Pruitt as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Teachers Association I actually drafted the brief, two page contract. It focused on both professional rights and responsibilities.

Mr. Pruitt reached out to national government and private industry initiatives in progressive innovative approaches to education. Among the more prominent initiatives were the federally funded Project Able in Vocational Education, Project PLAN [Program for Learning in Accordance With Needs] privately funded, and COPED [Cooperative Program in Education Development] a federally funded program in human relations development including CL/PDM. Superintendent Pruitt was committed to establishing a climate for change.

In 1969 Mr. Pruitt left Quincy and at age 36 I was elected superintendent of schools. I served in that capacity until 1984. Mr. Pruitt went on to a position with the United States Department of Education in Washington, DC

Having served under Mr. Pruitt and having been mentored by him I continued his commitment to progressive education and participatory decision making. It was and continues to be my practice to author position papers defining and sharing with those interested and effected views on education. This paper is one such example. Scores of others are found on my web site: www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com.  Two among those I authored then and that are still applicable today are: Establishing a Climate for Change, and Participatory Decision Making in the Schools of Quincy, MA.

Establishing a Climate for Change

An early initiative in the quest for establishing a climate for change was embarking on an extensive series of educational retreats. Over a three to four year period of time small groups of school leaders and faculty members numbering about 40 individuals spent two to three day residential retreats at a conference center. Participants were selected at the school level by the teachers association.  Some retreats focused on faculty members from one school while others involved faculty members from several schools. In one instance the entire faculty of the community college was involved each time for a series of two retreats.

The teachers association [union] took part in selecting participants. The sessions were facilitated by human relations department faculty members from Boston University, Lesley College and the Sloan School of Business Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT]. The agenda was built by participants and focused on climate including the issue of trust. The goal was not to focus on problem solving and seeking consensus on a specific concern, but rather to consider factors that facilitated or hindered progressive change.

The program was associated with the United States Department of Education program Cooperative Program in Educational Development. Locally it was known as Q-PED – Quincy Program in Educational Development. Funding came from the US Department of Education, the Simon Gutman Foundation [a private foundation dedicated to human relations], and the Quincy Public Schools. Ultimately budget cuts contributed to the end of the effort. However during its active period approximately 400 faculty members took part in retreats and follow-up activities.

Participatory Management

At the outset of the renewed period of innovation the school system reflected a common and traditional line-staff organizational structure. During my superintendency that changed to a layered team structure. The layers were:

Building Level:

At the building level faculty became more involved through such structures as faculty senates and principal councils. Faculty participated in developing building level budgets reflecting specific needs of an individual school.  Faculty participated in developing aspects of the ten component design for learning. The Design for Learning is addressed in other Creedon monographs. Faculty participated in developing job descriptions for new or replacement openings. They also participated in interviewing, screening and recommending candidates for appointment.

System-Wide Level

Instructional Planning Team [IPT]: The IPT was made up of all system-wide academic and special areas coordinators. It included system-wide coordinators of math, science, social studies, foreign languages, music, art, physical education, athletics, media and library science, guidance and special education. Among the tasks of the IPT was the system-wide, systemic development and implementation of the ten component Design for Learning. Most of the Design for Learning developmental work was done during summer workshops. Over a five year period 250 faculty members participated in summer Design for learning development  workshops.  Implementation of summer efforts was carried out during the school year. The IPT reported to the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction.

Learning Management Team [LMT]: The LMT was made up of system-wide directors of elementary education, secondary education, pupil personnel, plant, and business affairs. It functioned primarily in the area of system-wide management as opposed to the curriculum and instruction concerns of the IPT. The LMT reported collectively to the Superintendency Team.

Superintendency Team [ST]: The superintendency team was made up of the assistant superintendents of schools for curriculum and instruction, vocational-technical education, pupil personnel services and human resources. The directors of plant and business affairs served as resource persons to the ST. The superintendent chaired the superintendency team. The superintendency team considered all system related concerns that channeled up to it through the other team structures. It made recommendations to the superintendent who in turn either directed action to be taken or if the matter related to policy referred it the school board. Only the school board determined policy.

Expanded Task Teams [ETT]: Expanded Task Teams were issue related and where made up of colleagues across the spectrum of the school system who were impacted by a particular issue. Four examples follow:

Elementary School Renovations: At the elementary school level all principals sat on the School Renovations Task Team. Each budget year principals included in their proposed budgets requests for building improvements and maintenance. The 22 elementary principals met as a group, reviewed all requests and made recommendations to the Learning Management Team [LMT].

New School Construction: When a new high school was being built the entire faculty was involved in recommending space needs. For example, school was closed one day and the entire faculty was involved in recommending space needs for their departments. A steering committee of faculty from every department met monthly with the superintendent and architect throughout the entire construction period.

Curriculum Development:

Project Plan: When a decision had to be made concerning a curriculum development project [Project PLAN: Program for Learning in Accordance with Needs – Westinghouse Learning Corp and American institutes for Research] that had impact system-wide all teachers from the affected schools met in a two day Friday-Saturday session. They reviewed the situation and made a recommendation as to whether or not to proceed with the effort. Their recommendation was adopted.

Project ABLE: Project ABLE was a one million dollar federally funded curriculum development project in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research.  The purpose was to develop a curriculum and program of studies bringing together the curriculums of both the vocational-technical school and the high school so that courses and programs could be shared back and forth. The development period was for three years. During that time more than 70 faculties members were relieved of classes one-half time on as rotating basis in order to develop curriculum. Additional staff was hired as necessary.

Leadership Assembly:  The Leadership Assembly included every person in the school system who had a professional leadership position including assistant principals, department heads, principals, system-wide specialists, coordinators and directors. It numbered approximately 125 individuals and was chaired by the superintendent of schools. It met twice a year for the purpose of sharing system-wide information. It was an information sharing forum as opposed to an action oriented body.

Support Staff Assemblies: Once a year day long sessions were held separately for custodial and maintenance staff personnel as well as secretarial and clerical support staff. The purpose was information sharing as to developments and initiatives within the system.

Student Leadership Assembly: Twice a year student leaders from all levels of the school system and from all school related activities participated in the Student Leadership Assembly. Participants included elected class officers, officers from clubs and special interest area groups, and leaders from athletic teams, music, and theater groups, etc. The purpose was to solicit from the student leaders their views on curriculum and instructional issues pending before the school system. For example at one such session the Student Leadership Assembly produced a position paper on their view as to basic skills.

Curriculum Relevance Forum: In every academic area a curriculum relevance forum was established. It was made up of an equal number of educators and community people and parents. The purpose was to review the curriculum and instructional program and make recommendations to the IPT. Each forum was chaired by an IPT member. Relevance Forums met quarterly.

System-Wide Excellence Forum: Once a year parents, PTA leaders and community members were invited to a forum on “The Pursuit of Excellence Within the Quincy public Schools.” The all day session was held on a Saturday. The AM session was held in each of the system’s 33 schools. The afternoon session was a common session held at one school. The agenda was framed around the ten component Design for Learning. Recommendations went directly to the superintendent and the Learning Management Team.

Superintendent’s Seminars in Current Trends in School Administration: Twice each school year the superintendent facilitated a seminar for 10 principals and/or assistant principals focusing on current trends in education. Eight once a week 90 minute sessions were held. Each session began with breakfast being served at 7:45 AM. Participation was on a volunteer basis and was limited to ten.

Teachers Association Leadership and Supintendent: On a monthly basis the leadership of the teachers association and the superintendent met. The agenda was jointly prepared.

Involvement in Promotional Screening Process: The procedure for recommending individuals to the school board for promotion included a screening committee process that included representatives from the faculty, the student body and the community. The teachers association identified faculty participants, students were identified by the principals and community folks were identified by the PTA or other parent organization.

Superintendent at Home Series: Every month one day after school the superintendent and members of the IPT and LMT met with an invited number of teachers for a two hour social meeting. There was no agenda. The atmosphere was of a reception social gathering type. Light refreshments were served. The teachers association controlled the invitation list. A similar series of social gatherings were held for high school students. High School principals extended invitations to about 30 students per session.

Other Initiatives: The above does not exhaust the initiatives taken to reach out to various constituencies within the school system, however, it does cite most of the major efforts. Also not considered in this monograph are the several other initiatives taken such as newsletters, superintendent monographs followed up by Superintendent – Faculty Q and A sessions held at individual schools and departments within the secondary schools.

Demise of Collaborative leadership and Participatory Decision Making

Unfortunately much of what has been chronicled above no longer exists. The reasons are many and to do them justice would require at least a separate monograph. However, so as not to end with the notion that nirvana has been reached [for it has not] a brief listing as the reasons for the demise will be cited here.

  1. The attitude of the majority of the School Board toward progressive initiatives changed. More conservative candidates were elected to the School Board.
  2. Severe State mandated cuts in taxes sharply curtailed programs within the schools, thereby requiring the school system to make deep and extremely harmful cuts in its budget and personnel.
  3. The superintendency changed thereby leaving a “commitment” void at the top.
  4. For all the effort over a 20 year period a “Climate for Change” did not take root. Rather quickly the pendulum swung back to more traditional ways.

 

Summary Observation

What has been chronicled here has been an effort to point out that the involvement process is much more than the leadership meeting periodically with a representative group of faculty. Rather, the involvement process requires an on-going effort to meet with as many different sub-sections of the whole as possible. Indeed, what has been cited here does not exhaust the total effort at involvement and communication. For example, nothing is mentioned here about written communications and there were several avenues. All of this took place before the advent of tele-communications so nothing is mentioned here about the advances attributable to the computer, technology and social networking. The process is never ending. If trust and a climate receptive to change is to be maintained the effort must be continuous as must the commitment at the top.

Lawrence P. Creedon

For Honduras Leadership Cohort

September 2010

www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com

Syllabus Kuwait 2010

August 15, 2011

Framingham State College

C. Louis Cedrone International Education Center

Framingham MA USA

Collaborative Leadership and Organizational Change

 

Overview

Traditionally schools have adhered to line-staff organizational structure with top down decision making. While education leadership organizations, leaders in the field, and those publishing and writing in the professional literature have for decades advocated a more collaborative approach to leadership and organizational structure for the most part schools remain as line-staff organizations with central top down leadership. This course will consider an alternative approach to leadership and organizational structure. The course will not focus on the more traditional elements of administration, management, supervision and top down leadership. The focus of the course will be on collaborative leadership and participatory decision making. A maxim for the course is:

Those affected by a decision ought to be involved in the process of making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made.

The intention is that the course itself will be presented as a practicum in collaborative leadership and participatory decision making. You will not be lectured on these two components as much as you will be involved in doing what is intended in the terms “Collaborative Leadership” and “Participatory Decision Making”. An anticipated result of such an approach is Organizational Change.

Learning Objectives

Consistent with the maxim stated immediately above learning objectives for the course will be developed as a communal effort involving all course participants. That exercise will begin as a pre-course assignment and be developed as a whole class exercise in the first few hours that the course is in session. The procedure to be followed in undertaking this exercise is found on the Yahoo Web site provided for the course.

Pre Course Exercises

Excercise #1: As a pre course exercise each participant is to:

  1. Develop a set of personal learning objectives for the course.
  2. Your learning objectives must relate to the content of the course: Collaborative Leadership and Organizational Change.
  3. State your learning objectives in list format.
  4. There is no required or recommended number of objectives that you must list. Your learning objectives indicate what you hope to gain from the course.
  5. 5.   Forward your list of learning objectives to me [Larry Creedon at lpcreedon(at)aol (dot) com] two weeks before the first meeting of the course scheduled for Sunday, January 9, 2011.
  6. Upload your list of learning objectives in the designated place of the Yahoo Web Site developed for the course   XXXXXXXXX.
  7. Bring two print copies of your objectives to class on Day One.
  8. At that time we will engage in an exercise where all individual learning objectives will be consolidated into one composite list. Those learning objectives will guide us during our learning experience.

Due Date: Submit to lpcreedon@aol.com two weeks prior to the first meeting of the course scheduled for Sunday, January 9, 2011.

Post on Yahoo Site: Post your list of Learning Objectives on the Yahoo Web site for the course under the category: “Pre-Course Exercises, #1”.

Exercise #2: This exercise can be found in the earlier syllabus dated November 2010 and already forwarded to you by Professor William M. Gordon. This exercise is modified from that sent to you by Professor Gordon. Choose Alternative A or Alternative B from the two cited below. You are not being asked to do both, just one. Choose either Alternative B or B.

Alternative A: Prepare a two page [approximately 500 word] paper describing[To describe is a low order cognitive term associated with Bloom’s Cognitive taxonomy] what you consider to be the characteristics of an effective classroom teacher and the elements necessary for good classroom instruction.

Oral Discussion in Class: In oral discussion in class be able to describe what you mean by “effective” and be able to identify what you consider to be “elements of good classroom instruction”. Consult the ASCD text Qualities of Effective Principals by Stronge, Richard and Catanoas well as sharing your own experience.

Alternative B: Prepare a two page [approximately 500 word] paper identifying [To identify is a low order cognitive term associated with Bloom’s Cognitive taxonomy] the leadership characteristics of an individual for whom you have worked – what did that person do to make you determine he/she was a good or poor leader.

Oral Discussion in Class: In oral discussion in class be able to describe what you mean by leadership. Be able to distinguish leadership from administration and/or management.  See the Creedon monograph in this regard found at www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com.

DO NOT post this exercise on the Yahoo Web site for the course. However bring two copies to class on Day One

Exercise Three: Refer Out to International Colleagues

Most recently I facilitated this course with professional colleagues in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Your assignment in this exercise is to e mail one or more of the participants in the Honduras course and ask each to share with you from their recent experience a few comments with you relative to what you might expect in the course.

A list of the Honduras participants is attached. Select one or more from this list. Selecting more than one might increase your chance of receiving a response.

You might consider these examples of questions. You need not ask these exact questions, these are possible examples:

1. How was the course conducted? What approach to learning was featured?

2. How was the course content determined, and the course conducted?

3. Did the course feature lectures, group/team activities, role playing, or what?

4. Was the course relevant to your professional development needs?

5. What role did the instructor play?

6. Where participants involved in leadership roles?

5. To what extent was the course an example of “Collaborative Leadership”?

6. To what extent has the course influenced your practice?

Date Due: Write a report or an outline of your responses from Honduran colleagues and bring two copies of your report to class.  Choose whether or not to upload responses you received and your report onto the Yahoo site for the course. Uploading is voluntary.

Due Date: Submit in two weeks before the first meeting of the course scheduled for Sunday, January 9, 2011.

Instructor Objectives

Instructor Objectives and participant Learning Objectives are not synonymous. They are not the same thing. This point will be clarified in class. Instructor Objectives are written consistent with the approach advocated by the late Robert Mager [Google him] and are consistent with Bloom’s taxonomy [See Creedon monograph on Bloom’s Cognitve Taxonomy www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com

].  My Instructor Objectives for this course are as follows:

  1. Foster a learning environment where leadership is promoted and practiced consistent with a collaborative leadership approach.
  2. Foster a learning environment where “those affected by decisions are involved in the process of making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made”.
  3. Introduce participants to the theory and practice of collaborative leadership and to the organizational structural requirements of such an approach.
  4. Introduce and practice a constructivist approach to leadership and organizational structure.
  5. Introduce and practice with participants strategies and tactics applicable to a constructivist approach to learning.

Yahoo Web Site:   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

A Yahoo web site has been established for the exclusive use of course participants. Each participant is required to sign on to the web site. It is a vital organ for the course. Many learning materials are posted on the site. In addition you will be required to post pre-course as well as in-class assignments you do on the web site. The web site will remain active and available for you and your course colleagues to use after the course has ended.

Course Learning Materials

  1. Text: There is no required textbook for the course. However you have been encouraged to acquire Qualities of Effective Principals, by Stronge, Richard and Catano, 2008, ISPN 978-1-41660744-1
  2. Internet:  Search Engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo
  3. Monographs: Position papers and articles authored by me [Larry Creedon]. They are found on my web site: larrycreedon.wordpress.com
  4. Videos
  5. Articles posted on the Yahoo web site for the course.

Procedure/Pedagogy: A Constructivist Approach

The course will not focus on the traditional, basic aspects of school administration, management and supervision found in more introductory courses. However, it will distinguish between administration and management on one hand and leadership including collaborative leadership on the other. Decades of doing the same thing over and over again while seeking organizational change has not resulted in the organizational change desired especially in a democratic society

Collaborative Leadership is associated with Constructivism. Constructivism promotes the notion that those affected by a decision ought to be involved in the process of making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made. Consistent with that mantra course participants will be involved in determining course content, pedagogy and assessment and evaluation. In this course collaborative leadership will not only be talked about, but it will be extensively practiced. Several Creedon monographs will address specific   aspects of a Constructivist approach to collaborative leadership. Successful application of collaborative leadership can set the stage for research based, defensible, lasting organizational change. A case study involving the public schools of Quincy, MA USA will be reviewed from an “insider”  first person perspective.

 

Course Requirement

1. Course participants will be involved in recommending to the course facilitator course requirements.

2. Rubrics related to learning objectives will be developed and applied. See Creedon monographs related to Rubrics.  www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com

3. Active participation in all course activities will be expected. A rubric describing  “active participation” will be developed applied. Those who shy away from verbal or oral participation need to immediately at the outset of course see the facilitator about this.  Failure to do will result in individuals be held to the participation requirement.

4. Action Research Project: All participants will engage in an Action Research project of their own choosing. The ten component approach to Action Research laid out in the Creedon monograph will be followed in engaging in AR. Participants will work in small groups of not more than three individuals. AR projects ought to be related to individual learner objectives. Much of this will be conducted in class.

Leadership Exercise: “Come Follow Me”

August 15, 2011

Leadership Exercise: “Come Follow Me”

Monday ,  October 12, 2009,  Saipan

 

Hafa Adai … Today in our learning experience related to Leadership, Professional Development and Supervision we will focus on Leadership. In your pre course exercise on Expectations  many of you made reference to leadership as a concern.  You asked about the characteristics of a leader. Some of you questioned the leadership climate and application where you practice. You spoke of fear.

 

On Saturday October 10 a considerable amount of time was devoted to compiling a single comprehensive list of course expectations including those related to leadership. As we move forward in our consideration of leadership we need to do so consistent with the issues and concerns we have identified and agreed to.

 

As a pre course reading you were to familiarize yourself with the Creedon monograph “Come Follow Me.”  Assuming you did that you ought to be ready to engage in and benefit from today’s learning experience.  If you did not honor that pre course assignment today will be of limited value to you personally and your contribution to the learning community you have associated yourself with will be also limited.

 

On page 18 of “Come Follow Me” the last sentence in paragraph 3 reads:

 

Those affected must be involved not only in decision making but in the development of the decision making process

 

Reflect on that with yourself in mind and in the context of today’s learning experience. An approach to behavior and assuming personal responsibility for your actions is referred to as “Consequences.”  If you are not prepared to engage ion today’s activity what ought the consequences, if any, be for you?  Add your thoughts below:

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Assuming you are prepared then read the quotation above again and how ought we to proceed to day to address the concept of leadership as addressed in “Come Follow Me?”

 

Your First  Task

  1. Meeting with your Focus group address the above question and come up with one or more alternatives as to how to proceed. We do not all have to do proceed the same way or address identical aspects of the monograph.  There is enough suggested there to keep us meaningfully involved for an extensive period of time, if not a whole career..
  2. If you do not “Qualify” as a prepared member of your group what should you do now?

 

Larry Creedon,  lpcreedon@aol.com, www.larrycreedon.wordpress.com,  10-12-09

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Collaborative Leadership and Organizational Change A Few Thoughts About the Topic

August 15, 2011

Collaborative Leadership and Organizational Change

A Few Thoughts About the Topic

Lawrence P. Creedon

Collaborative leadership is a much talked and written about initiative in institutions committed to education especially in a democratic society, however it is seldom practiced and if attempted it is seldom sustained over time. Bringing about meaningful, lasting change in the operational structure of an educational institution is even more difficult.

Research on the question seems to support that if real collaboration does come about or if change does occur it is not because there has been a consensus to move in the direction of more democratic collaborative ppaprticipation or in systemic change, but rather because the existing approach and system has run into a snag and those immediately effected are clamoring for redress of an immediate irritant or limitation.

There is nothing new in this bit of conventional wisdom. For example nearly 40 years ago the then eminent psychologist Carl Rogers when speaking to a meeting of United States leaders in education observed:

If traditional education cannot change its mossback stance as the ‘most rigid, outdated, bureaucratic, incompetent institution in our culture’ its function will be increasingly taken over by agencies such as TV, student planned ‘free schools,’ parent-organized private schools, and industry operated learning programs.

Approximately 20 years ago the internationally recognized authority on Total Quality Management W. Edwards Deming turned his attention from working with the most prominent of international corporations to public education in the United States. The American Association of School Administrators established a division within its organization to promote Total Quality Management in schools. After about a decade Deming concluded that bringing about change in education was the hardest task he had ever attempted and now AASA no longer has a division devoted exclusively to TQM.

Benjamin Bloom’s Cognitive Domain Taxonomy is a resource we will refer to extensively in our course Collaborative Leadership and Oranizational Change. In 1964 he wrote Stability and Change in Human Characteristics. That work has application today [nearly 50 years later] when considering collaborative leadership and organizational change.

In our course we will not focus on one textbook, rather we will utilize the resources provided via the Internet and search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Among the resources used, but not exclusively, will be Qualities of the Effective Principal by Stronge.  Several course learning exercises have been developed based on the book and are cited in the course syllabus or on the Yahoo web site. For the most part Stronge, et.al considers qualities and characteristics of an effective principal. The book devotes little attention to collaborative or shared leadership as well as organizational change.

The book states in its introduction: “Principals are expected to promote and develop the school vision, empower stakeholders to build and maintain conditions necessary for the success of all students”.

It identifies eight elements of effective principals. Collaborative leadership and organizational change is not mentioned as one of the eight.

Qualities of the Effective Principal is aimed at the duties of the principal. It states that it is aimed at: “improving the quality of principal performance and the learning community in which they work.” It states that the book is a valuable resource for five populations. Collaborative leadership or organizational change is not mentioned as one of the five.

In the section on “What does it mean to be an effective Principal” it does ask: “To what degree do you think the leadership in your school is shared?”  And, is does ask: “What challenges have you encountered in the process of distributing power and building leadership capacity in your school?”

Chapter Two is pretty good and on target related to collaborative leadership. It asks: “What is a learning community?”

Organizational change might be inferred from the topic considered in chapters 3 – 6, but that would be a stretch. They deal with issues such as recruitment, teacher evaluation, organization management and communication. The context of each of those could be presented in terms of collaborative leadership and shared participation, but I do not see that they are.

A second more germane resource related directly to collaborative leadership and available on Google is: “Leadership Characteristics that Facilitate School Change”.

www.sedl.org/change/leadership/history.htm

Another is the 2009 book by Hank Rubin [Corwin Press $28.66] Collaborative Leadership Developing Effective Partnership for Communities

Participatory Decision Making In Quincy, Massachusetts

August 15, 2011

Participatory Decision Making

In Quincy, Massachusetts

 

LAWRENCE P. CREEDON

MIRIAM C. RITVO

Seidenberg has incisively commented, “Modern man has learned to accommodate himself to a world increasingly organized. The trend toward ever more explicit and consciously drawn relationships is profound and sweeping; it is marked by depth no less than by extension.”  In the United States, the first systematic approach to organization, and the first comprehensive attempt to find organizational universals, is dated 1931 when Mooney and Reiley published Onward Industry. Since that time various ways of understanding organizations have developed. Scott categorized these ways of understanding as (1) classical, which studied the anatomy or organization and provided the basic concepts of division of labor, scalar and functional processes, structure, and span of control, (2) Neoclassical, which asserted that the above classical concepts needed to be modified by the fact that human beings operated organizations and, in so doing, they created informal networks which could and did radically modify the way span of control division of labor, etc. actually worked within the formal organization, (3) Modern organization theory, which is conceptual-analytical based, relies on empirical research data and, above all, is integrative in nature. The events about to be described are most easily understood as actions, transactions and outcomes which may transpire when a school system undertakes the task of simultaneously trying to understand itself as an organization, and as the new understanding grows, changing its own organizational nature according to a basic principle of increased participation, at all levels of the school system, in decision making.

The principle of increased participation in decision making is clearly supported in some modern organizational theories. Bennis, for instance, has characterized the social structure of those organizations which will go beyond the bureaucracies of the industrial revolution as, “Adaptive, rapidly changing temporary systems. These will be ‘task forces’ organized around problems-to-be-solved.  The problems will be solved by groups of relative strangers who represent a set of diverse professional skills. …People will be differentiated not vertically, according to rank and role, but flexibly and functionally according to skill and professional training.”

What follows is the description of the ongoing process of developing participative school system decision making in Quincy, Mass.

In recent years educators have been forced to come to grips with the oft-heard challenge that learning experiences offered to young people in the public schools are simply not in touch with reality, let alone what is projected as the future. Concurrent with this developing awareness is the recognition that authoritarian, line-staff patterns of organization for decision making do not result in critically needed behavior changes on the part of the more than two million of us who make up the educational establishment. In a complex and changing organization, the traditional practice of dictating decisions from the top to acquiescent subordinates does not work-and is, indeed, obsolete.[1]

Now the emphasis is and must be on participation in the decision making process. It is a truism that he who is to be affected by a decision must be involved.

Participation or involvement in the decision making process are terms that must be defined operationally. They can best be defined by those who will be affected by a given decision. They take on meaning concurrent with problem identification and must be formalized prior to any attempt at problem solving.

Group involvement in the decision making process does not mean motion without direction. It does not mean abdication of responsibility by those in positions of leadership in order to appease the apathetic, the uninformed, or the radical. It does not imply a devious round-about way of engineering consensus. Group involvement in the decision making process suggest power with people and not power over people.  It assumes that he who has shared in the development of a decision is more personally committed to the decision and has a vested interest in seeing that action follows decision.

There is a growing body of research to validate the importance of group involvement in decision making. Research by social psychologists has shown that the acquisition and exercise of problem solving skills is affected by the sheer presence of other persons. At the most elementary level some experiments outlined by Zajonc report the following:

  1. Participants report that an urge toward greater speed is produced by the activity of other, and they report greater emotional excitement (and distraction) than when alone.
  2. The largest performance gains occur for individuals who give evidence of having least interest in the task itself.

Zajonc cites further evidence which can be interpreted to mean that social conditions increase motivation for high task performance. For several years the educational community of the public schools in Quincy, Massachusetts has been attempting to decentralize and make operational group participation in decision making. While the need has been recognized, the skills needed to effect such a change are still embryonic. And, although the achievements to date are modest, but visible, the commitment to the process is deep.

Historically the Quincy Public Schools have been linked with innovation in public education F. W. Parker, colleague of John Dewey in founding the University of Chicago Laboratory School, served as Superintendent of School’s from 1875 to 1880. During that period he brought national recognition to Quincy to the point where Merle Curti, the educational historian, has suggested that progressive education in the United States virtually began in Quincy.

In a more contemporary sense, the present period of renewal of the teaching-learning process in Quincy began within a year after the 1963 appointment of the now former Superintendent of Schools, Robert E. Pruitt. The events of the past six years chronicle the efforts of an educational community of 850 professional to make learning more relevant and individualized for the nearly 17,000 young people enrolled in the public schools of Quincy. A great deal of emphasis has been placed on participation by staff in decision making. The process of involvement has been, is and must continue to be evolutionary. Involvement has not been defined in explicit concrete terms A PERT chart for participation has not been developed and it is doubtful if it could. Human behavior, trust, and commitment cannot be automated and no effort has been made to project such development on a chart.[2]

Early in the present period of renewal activity the administration shifted from solely advocating changes in curricular offerings to recognizing that there was a prior need to examine and establish a climate for change within the school system. While convinced that many program offerings were no longer relevant to the needs of young people and that teaching strategies were in many instances not consistent with what is known about how young people learn, the administration concluded that if any curricular changes were to take place, emphasis must first be placed on establishing a climate for change. Miles has pointed up the need for school systems to consciously create a climate which would support growth and development. He states, “The problem, in effect, may not really be a matter of getting specific teachers or administrators to accept SMSG math, team teaching, IPI, or any one of a hundred specific acronymic inventions. Rather, . . . anything that could be done to induce a general climate of inventiveness, creativity, willingness to take risks, or excitement, would in principle make it a lot easier for a school system to devote more of its energy to rebuilding itself.”

A change in climate in Quincy was something that could not be dictated or legislated; it could come about only when there was a feeling among teachers that their needs and ideas were recognized as important, that their views would be listened to, that innovation and change could start at any point or level in the organization and that vehicles for true participation in the decision making process would be developed.

ES ’70 (Educational Systems for the Seventies) The current apex for involvement centers on the 1967 decision by  the Quincy Public Schools to accept the invitation of the U. S. Office of Education to become a charter member of the ES ’70 network. Over 400 educators, the entire secondary school staff, participated in that decision.

The invitation to join the network was innovative efforts in Projects ABLE and PLAN. Meaningful involvement in the decision to accept the invitation of the U. S. Office of Education was made possible by Quincy’s prior experience in Project Q-PED-COPED.

The process of involving 400 teachers in the decision to affiliate with ES ’70 necessitated the cancelling of classes for one whole day early in June, 1967 so that all affected by the decision could come together in a day long workshop and share in the decision making process.

Approval for the institute day was given by the School Committee. Arrangements for the workshop were made by the administration, the Quincy Education Association, and resource people from Boston University Human Relations Center and Lesley College.

Two weeks prior to the institute day each of the 400 secondary teachers received a copy of the ES ’70 network proposal.

The Quincy Education Association assumed responsibility for structuring the program for the day. The teachers were divided into 27 groups of 15. Each group was organized to give balance to junior and senior high school teachers as well as to the several academic disciplines and departments. The day opened with each group meeting in a separate room and discussing for two hours the project proposal. This was followed by a general assembly where all 400 teachers came together in a school auditorium and for two hours addressed questions to a panel of administrators and teachers who had participated in earlier talks with the U. S. Office of Education relative to ES ’70.

Following a leisurely lunch hour when discussion continued informally, the original 27 groups re-assembled in their separate meeting rooms and assessed the events of the morning, including the responses given to the questions asked the panel.

At the conclusion of the day each group polled itself and forwarded to the Quincy Education Association its reaction to the ES ’70 proposal. Over 90% of the 400 teachers participating recommended that the Quincy Public Schools accept the invitation of the U. S. Office of Education to affiliate with ES ’70.

Q-PED – COPED (Quincy Project in Educational Development- Cooperative Project in Educational Development- In all probability such in-depth involvement  in the decision to participate in ES -70 would neither have been considered nor risked if it had not been preceded by nearly two years of Q-PED – COPED activity in Quincy. In the fall of 1965 the Quincy Education Association, with the encouragement of the administration developed a position paper centered on the theme of establishing a climate for change in the school system through human relations training. The paper was presented to behavioral scientists at the Human Relations Center of Boston University. This group immediately recognized that the values and goals were very compatible with change strategies being suggested by Project COPED. Quincy University and Lesley College COPED activity. The Quincy effort came to be identified as Q-PED.

For the next three years Quincy educators engaged in extensive human relations training through Q-PED- COPED. The thrust of the effort was to establish a climate for change by building trust, opening up channels of communication, and involving teachers at all levels and, in some areas, students in the decision making process.

To date over 70% of the Quincy school’s 850 professional staff members have taken part in Q-PED activities ranging from one day in-service, released-time workshops to two five week summer dialogue sessions for teachers and students in one junior high school.

Among the most successful of these activities were several day long released-time institutes for groups of 50 teachers drawn from all grade levels as well as subject areas. Each day-long session was followed by a two day overnight educational retreat at which teachers and administrators faced their perceptions of each other and discussed common concerns, anxieties and aspirations.

All sessions were planned by a steering committee of teachers and administrator as well as human relations consultants from the Human Relations Center of Boston University and from Lesley College. Classroom teachers who participated in the sessions were invited by the Quincy Education Association and substitute teachers were hired by the school department.[3]

Funding for Q-PED has come from a variety of sources including the Quincy School Committee, the teachers association, the federal government, the Simons-Gutman Foundation of Temple Israel in Boston and the participants themselves.

After two years of Q-PED activity aimed at establishing a climate for change and several modest involvements in group and building level undertaking, the process was tried out for the first time on a large scale when all the secondary school teachers came together to consider and accept the ES ’70 invitation.

Q-SCSP (Quincy School Community Action Program) – In addition to being the vehicle for reaching the ES ’70 decision, Q-PED’s most ambitious undertaking to date has been a 14 month (including two summers) effort to establish a climate for change in one junior high school. Until two years ago, decision making in the school was centralized (as is the case in most schools) in the administration. Now, there is a great deal of teacher, student and, most recently, community participation in decision making.

Encouraged by a principal with nearly 20 years experience, and supported by federal funds, 20 teachers and 45 students worked together under their own leadership for five weeks during the summer of 1968 in an effort to establish a climate for change that would allow the consideration of a more relevant curriculum for the entire student body as well as a broader base for decision making. The project caught the enthusiasm of teachers and students, and during the 1968-1969 school year both groups worked at opening up lines of communications between the faculty of 50 teachers and student body of 800.

The past year has seen a great deal of faculty and student-participation in decision making. Enthusiasm and involvements has run so high that teachers, independent of the administration, prepared a proposal for federal assistance in order to keep the effort alive. As a result a second summer session was funded for 1969.

DEEP (Developing Economic Education Principles) Prior to Q-PED, decision making in Quincy followed more traditional lines. The decision to accept the 1965 invitation of the Joint Council on Economic Affairs to affiliate with Project DEEP is in sharp contrast to the ES ’70 procedure and other post Q-PED decisions.

As with ES ’70 the invitation to affiliate with DEEP was made to the Superintendent, the same Superintendent. Unlike the procedure followed three years later in ES 70, only a handful of senior advisors were involved in deciding that the system would become involved in DEEP. However, since the first and critical decision was made by a limited few, the process of making decisions concerning DEEP has broadened to include all the teachers in the four elementary schools where DEEP materials are being introduced. Two afternoon released time workshops each month are attended by all teachers participating in DEEP are made. While few of those affected by DEEP were involved in the original  decision to go ahead with the project, that has been corrected  to the point where the decisions for the implementation of the effort and for future expansion rests with those who are to be affected.

ABLE – Project ABLE is another example of a project closely identified with ES ’70. It began prior to Q-PED but is still in the developmental stage. In 1964 a small committee of senior administrators served as advisors to the Superintendent and shared in the development of ABLE. Today the same Superintendent would not follow that procedure. Critical decisions in ABLE are now made with involvement of all teachers who are responsible for implementation. For example, in the summer of 1967 a two week workshop was planned for all teachers who were to teach in Project ABLE during the 1967-1968 school year. Two month before the two week workshop was held, the 3 teachers who were scheduled to participate in the workshop spent a two-day overnight Q-PED session developing the syllabus for the two week summer institute.

Since 1965 Quincy educator have been experimenting with decentralizing the decision making process. As stated earlier this new participative involvement is still in the embryonic stage. Since the spring of 1968, the emphasis has been on a more structured systems approach to decision making that is consistent with and can reinforce the basic assumption that all those who are affected by a decision should share in making the decision.

Team Structure- In continuing the process of molding a creative organizational character there is a new kind of resource mobilization for the attainment of goals. A four dimensional team structure has been developed that in design involves all members of the professional staff in decision making.

The teams are:

(1) Superintendency,

(2) Learning Management,

(3) Curriculum Team

(4) Expanded Curriculum.

The Superintendency Team includes the Superintendent, the Assistant Superintendents for Instruction, Vocational-Technical, Personnel, and Plant, the President of Quincy Junior College and the Administrative Assistant for Business Affairs.

The Learning Management Team (LMT) consists of the Superintendent, the Assistant Superintendents for Instruction, and Vocational-Technical, the Elementary and Secondary School Coordinator, and the Director of Pupil Personnel Services.

The Curriculum Team (CT) includes the Assistant Superintendents for Instruction, and Vocational-Technical Education plus all the system-wide directors and coordinators in math, science, language-arts, social studies, music, art-humanities, physical education, athletics, pupil personnel, and research.

The Expanded Curriculum Team (ECT) has no permanent structure and no permanent members. Several Expanded Curriculum Teams can and do exist at any given time. An ECT is a task force brought into being to consider a problem or a proposal that has arisen. It includes representatives from all those who are to be affected by the decision, including students, custodians, teachers, and administrators. An ECT can be organized around a concern that is limited to grade level, department, or subject area; or it can focus on a topic that is of concern to a building faculty or the entire system.  There is no issue, or topic that is excluded as not being pertinent or within the province of an ECT to consider. Any member of the educational community can suggest an issue or a concern that might call for the organization of an ECT. However, in itself and ECT is not a decision making body, but rather makes recommendations to the Curriculum Team. Its existence is a kind of barometer about issues and serves to make the system responsive to needs.

The Curriculum Team has as a primary task the responsibility of receiving from any source all proposals or recommendations that could have a system-wide influence. In addition, the Curriculum Team is charged with the responsibility of integrating learning experiences and adequately individualizing the teaching-learning process. Individual members of the CT are responsible for assuring relevancy within the instructional program of their discipline.

The Learning Management Team serves as the systems analysis component of the school department. It is responsible for identifying the many segments of the system and for maintaining a systems approach to organization, research and development, and implementation of the instructional program. The LMT is responsible for seeing that instructional practices and the teaching-learning process at all levels is consistent with contemporary learning theory. In addition, the LMT contributes to the development of the budget and serves as a weekly briefing group to the Superintendent.

For the most part critical decisions affecting the educational program of the system are made at the LMT level on recommendation forwarded through an ECT or the CT.

The Superintendency Team has few responsibilities assigned to it as a group. Individual members of the ST function as appropriate and according to task, at any one of the other three levels. In a recent six month period the ST met only once as a unit on a task and that was to screen candidates and make a recommendation on a new Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

The fact that the ST does not meet regularly and is not the focal point of decision making does not reflect abdication of responsibility. Rather, it is indicative of an effort to decentralize decision making consistent with good systems practice. Members of the Superintendency Team still carry the responsibility for decisions made or not made within their area of competence; however, the structural changes in the process permit participative decision making at other levels.

This Quincy case study describes an evolving organizational development program in a human system which has been moving from a centralized, traditional hierarchy to a more dynamic, self-renewing, decentralized structure in six years. The change process has been traced by looking at major program events in terms of how decisions were made. Pas t administrative practices and leadership style shifted to collaborative transactions including all levels. Major emphasis was on building a new collaborative organizational climate. These newly emergent values necessarily cut across organizational structure, policies, and work methods. The objective is to develop trust, openness, and joint decision making.

The major input for these new practices, norms, attitudes and values came from the training and consultation programs with the COPED applied behavioral science approach.

Lawrence P. Creedon, Superintendent of Schools, Quincy

Miriam C. Ritvo, Boston University Human Relations Center

Written Early 1970s

Creedon Note October 10 2010

As far as I can determine there is nothing left of any of this and has not been for decades. The participation/involvement process decayed to abandonment after I left as superintendent of schools in 1984. A significant study would be why? Why did nothing take root, survive?


[1] Lawrence P. Creedon is Superintendent of Quincy Public Schools, Quincy, Massachusetts.

Miriam C. Ritvo is located at Boston University, Human Relations Center, Boston, Massachusetts.

Seidenber, R. Post Historic Man. Boston: Beacon Press, 1981.

Mooney, J. D. & Relley, A.C. Onward Industry. New York: Harper & Bros. 1931.

Scott, S.G. Organization Theory: an overview and an appraisal. Journal of the Academy of Management 1961, 4, 7-27

Bennis, W. G. Beyond Bureaucracy. Trans-action. 1965, 3, 31-5.

[2] Zajonc, R. B. Social facilitation. Science. 1965. 149, 269-274

Miles, M.B. The development of innovative climates in iducational organizations. Stanford Research Institute Research Note EPRC – 6747-11. 1969

ES ’70 is a network of 18 school systems from 14 states. The purpose of the network is to implement the results of educational research in order (1)  to make learning experiances relevant to the needs of the time, (2) to adapt programs of instructions so as to be responsive to what is known about learning styles of young people, (3)  to make sophisticated use of media and technology, and (4) to provide ongoing opportunities for inservice training.

Project ABLE is a joint effort of the Quincy Public  Schools and the American Institutes for the secondary level for non-college-bounds, young people.

Project PLAN is a joint effort of the Quincy Public Schools and the American Institutes for Research and 13 other school systems to develop and individualized program of instruction in grades 1-2. The computer is used as a managerial tool. PLAN is funded by the Westinghouse Learning Corporation.

[3] Project DEEP is a joint effort of the Quincy Public Schools and the Joint Council on Economic Education and forty other school systems aimed at integrating economic education at all grade levels.

Come Follow Me

December 18, 2009

1
Come Follow Me
by
Lawrence P. Creedon
When enjoined by someone who has been or is about to be placed in a position of
authority over your professional life and thus asks that you: “Come follow me” it stands to
reason that your first response ought to be: Where and why? In fact, your queries in this
regard ought to come first. They ought to be prerequisite to conferring the role of
leadership on one confident and bold enough in the personal assessment of his or her
professional competence to offer self as fit to lead in fashioning the development,
behavior and thus the lives of others. Leadership is nothing short of a sacred trust as
inferred in its religious supplication: “Come follow me” [The New Testament: Luke 18:22 and
9:23, Matthew 16:24 Mark 1:17].
The thesis in this piece will not deal with the religious petition; rather it will support the
contention that professionally competent leadership in education is in short supply. The
proposition here is that much of what passes as leadership today is something born in
desperation rather than inspiration. Desperation in dealing with the impact of the ever
howling winds of change in society rather than laying out a path to follow through
visionary leadership. Desperation to come into compliance with demands of political and
bureaucratic stewards who, as Gerald W. Bracey observed, are at work creating a world
of education that is a world of tests. [Gerald W. Bracey, New York Times, “A Test Everyone Will
Fail,” May 3, 2007, p. A25. Bracey is a frequent contributor to the highly regarded education journal
The Phi Delta Kappan. He is known for his PDK annual report on the state of education].
Lee Iacocca, the legendary former Chief Executive Officer of Chrysler Corporation in his
2007 New York Times best selling book Where have All the Leaders Gone?, commented
on the dearth of leadership talent in commerce and industry as a whole in an
uncomplimentary observation, to wit:
So let’s shake off the horseshit and go to work.
Let’s tell them we’ve had enough.
In what follows I will address Iacocca’s concern, but do so in the context of education.
Consistent with the contention of the late but contemporary Jewish philosopher Martin
Buber I support the notion that among the most important things one can learn is how to
read. Buber pointed out that while modern man is a voracious reader he/she has never
learned to read well. He promoted the notion that a good book or essay should be viewed
as the voice of the author speaking to the reader and thus it required a response. You, the
reader, are invited to respond to this opinion piece Throughout this monograph you will
find prompts to assist you in this regard. [Martin Buber, translated by Walter Kaufmann, I and
Thou, Simon and Schuster, 1970, pb, pp 18-19].
2
When embarking on an examination of the question: What or who is a professionally
competent leader it is commonplace to deconstruct the question into sub categories such
as:
What skills are needed to be an effective leader?
Are there different leadership styles and if so what are they?
What are the qualities of a leader?
What are the characteristics of a leader?
How would you define leadership?
In practical application how might a leader be recognized and function?
The question for you is: Does the shoe fit for leaders in education? Is the person who
has stepped up and said to you :”Come follow me”, a leader or a laggard? Have you
asked: Where and Why?
Pragmatically the data necessary for each individual to respond to the question of: Do I
qualify as a leader? is not to be found in the weight and volume of paper credentials or in
the hindsight of past experience. Rather, it is in observable action being taken in the
present. It is in the doing. While visionary in design, leadership is competent action in
application.. A Japanese proverb states it as:
Vision without action is a daydream
Action without vision is a nightmare
There is no scarcity of essays and lists addressing and defining what is professionally
competent leadership. However all too often in educational discourse the definitions and
characteristics of leadership are culled from the contribution of other educational
theorists commenting on the same thing. It is educational theorists talking to one another
about leadership, while practitioners continue as status quo administrators and managers.
The question for you is: Is this an example of leaders thinking within the box? If so, in
which corner of the box is the vision stored?
In this essay five examples will be cited from outside the box. None will come from
educators talking to and writing for other educators. Each example will be from outside
the education establishment.
First Example: Five Minds for the Future, Howard Gardner, Harvard University
Business School Press, 2006].
Professor Gardner is a world renowned psychologist most noted for his work in
classifying intelligence into eight domains. His thesis is that each human being possesses
to some degree each of the eight, but that most people are dominant in a much smaller
number. He affirms what is generally understood and that is that schools focus on just
two of the eight: Verbal linguistic and Logical- mathematical. [Gardner’s eight intelligence
domains are: Verbal-Linguistic, Logical-Mathematical, Kinesthetic, Visual-Spatial, Musical,
Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, and Naturalist].
3
In Five Minds for the Future Gardner addresses what he believes will be the kinds of
minds human being will need to productively participate in, contribute to and lead in the
future. They reach for beyond Abraham Maslow’s well known human needs theory first
promulgated circa 1943. [Maslow’s five are: Survival, Safety, Respect of fellows, Self
respect and Self actualization].
Gardner’s five kinds of minds for the future are:
1. The disciplinary mind. This involves mastery of major schools of thought
[including science, mathematics and history) and at least one professional craft.
2. The synthesizing mind. This addresses the ability to integrate ideas from other
disciples and spheres into a coherent whole and to communicate that integration
to others.
3. The creating mind. This stresses the capacity to uncover, and clarify new
problems, questions and phenomena.
4. The respectful mind. This focuses on the awareness of and appreciation for
differences among human beings.
5. The ethical mind. This recognizes the need to fulfill one’s responsibilities as a
worker, and a citizen.
The questions for you are:: In taking your own inventory in light of these laudatory
ideals and goals where do you picture yourself to be? Where do you want to be in
contrast to where you perceive yourself to be? Where do you think your colleagues and
associates perceive you to be? As the leader do you have a responsibility to consider
these matters with those to whom you have said: “Come follow me?”
In considering leadership in the Five Minds for the Future, Gardner observed:
In general we look at leaders, rather than managers, for examples of creativity.
The transformational leader creates a compelling narrative about the missions of
her organization or polity; embodies that narrative in her own life, and is able,
through persuasion and personal example, to change the thoughts, feelings and
behaviors of those whom she seeks to lead. [page 7].
…Those at the workplace are charged with selecting individuals who appear to
possess the right kinds of knowledge, skills, minds – in my terms, they should be
searching for individuals who possess disciplined, synthesizing, creating,
respectful and ethical minds. But equally, managers and leaders, directors and
deans and presidents, must continue perennially to develop all five kinds of minds
in themselves and – equally – in those for whom they bear responsibility [page 9].
…The job of manager calls for synthesis. The manager must consider the job to
be done, the various workers on hand, their current assignments and skills, and
how best to execute the current priority and move on to the next one. A good
manager also kooks back over what has been done in the past months and tries to
anticipate how best to carry out future missions. As she begins to develop new
visions, communicate them to associates, and to contemplate how to realize these
4
innovations, she invades the realm of strategic leadership and creativity within
the business or profession, and, of course, synthesizing the current rate of
knowledge, incorporating new findings, and delineating new dilemmas is part and
parcel of the work of any professional who wishes to remain current with her
craft [page 6].
The questions for you relate to the distinction between a manager and a leader as well
as the characteristics and qualities of a leader-manager. Do you agree that there is a
significant difference between manager and leader? What might you expect from a
manager versus a leader? Which are you? What about the person you report to?
Second Example: The Nine C’s of Leadership as Seen by Lee Iacocca
In Where Have All the Leaders Gone? Lee Iacocca cites what he identifies as the Nine
C’s of Leadership. They are:
1. Curiosity 6. Conviction
2. Creativity 7. Charisma
3. Communicative 8. Competence
4. Character 9. Common Sense
5. Courage
Sadly Iacocca’s conclusion is that all too frequently those who have sought and carry the
mantle of leadership are deficient in many of the nine.
The question for you is: As you reflect on your own role as a leader including the Nine
C’s as they apply to those who have said to you Come follow me what do you conclude?
How many of the nine apply?
Third Example: Leaders and Laggards as seen by David J. Skyrme and Debra M.
Amidon [Excerpt quoted from: http://www.skyrme.co/dsa/david.htm%5D.
In doing research for Creating the Knowledge-based Business Skyrme and Amidon
identified differences between very successful and less successful (or failing) knowledge
management initiatives. They found ten recurring characteristics that separated the
leaders and the laggards.
Ten Characteristics of Leaders
1. They can clearly articulate a vision of what the knowledge agenda and
knowledge management is about. Their thinking about their business, their
business environment and their knowledge goals was clear.
2. They have enthusiastic knowledge champions who are supported by top
management.
5
3. They have a holistic perspective that embraces strategic, technological and
organizational perspectives.
4. They use systematic processes and frameworks (the power of visualization).
5. They “bet on knowledge”, even when the cost-benefits cannot easily be
measured.
6. They use effective communications, using all the tricks of marketing and PR.
7. There is effective interaction at all levels with their customers and external
experts. Human networking takes place internally and externally on a broad
front.
8. They demonstrate good teamwork, with team members drawn from many
disciplines.
9. They have a culture of openness and inquisitiveness that stimulates innovation
and learning.
10. They develop incentives, sanctions and personal development programs to
change behaviors.
Ten Characteristics of Laggards
1. They simplify knowledge to information or database model, often applying the
“knowledge” label without a comprehensive understanding of what knowledge is
about.
2. They package and disseminate knowledge that is most readily available (vs.
that which is the most useful).
3. They work in isolated pockets without strong senior management support.
Thus, they may hand over responsibility for knowledge systems to one
department, such as MIS, without engaging the whole organization.
4. They focus on a narrow aspect of knowledge, such as knowledge sharing rather
than all processes including new knowledge creation and innovation.
5. They blindly follow a change process e.g. BPR, without understanding the
associated knowledge dimension.
6. They downsize or outsource without appreciating what vital knowledge might
be lost.
6
7. They think that technology (alone) is the answer. For example, that expert
systems by themselves are the way to organize and use knowledge.
8. They have a major cultural blockage, perhaps caused by a climate of
“knowledge is power”
9. They “know all the answers” i.e. they are not open to new ideas.
10. They get impatient. They think knowledge management is simply another
short-term project or program. They do not allow time for new systems and
behaviors to become embedded.
The question for you is: To what extent do you personally identify with the ten
characteristics cited in either list? To what extend to they characterize the person who
has said to you: “Come follow me?”
Fourth Example: The Difference Between a Leader and a Manager [Excerpt quoted
from Changingminds.org].
By definition, managers have subordinates.
Authoritarian, style
Managers have transactional a position of authority vested in them by the
company, and their subordinates work for them and largely do as they are told.
Management style is transactional, in that the manager tells the subordinate
what to do, and the subordinate does this not because they are a blind robot, but
because they have been promised a reward (at minimum their salary) for doing
so.
Work focus
Managers are paid to get things done (they are subordinates too), often within
tight constraints of time and money. They thus naturally pass on this work focus
to their subordinates.
Seek comfort
An interesting research finding about managers is that they tend to come from
stable home backgrounds and led relatively normal and comfortable lives. This
leads them to be relatively risk-averse and they will seek to avoid conflict where
possible. In terms of people, they generally like to run a ‘happy ship’.
7
Leaders have followers
Leaders do not have subordinates – at least not when they are leading. Many
organizational leaders do have subordinates, but only because they are also
managers. But when they want to lead, they have to give up formal
authoritarian control, because to lead is to have followers, and following is
always a voluntary activity.
Charismatic, transformational style
Telling people what to do does not inspire them to follow you. You have to
appeal to them, showing how following them will lead to their hearts’ desire.
They must want to follow you enough to stop what they are doing and perhaps
walk into danger and situations that they would not normally consider risking.
People focus
Although many leaders have a charismatic style to some extent, this does not
require a loud personality. They are always good with people, and quiet styles
that give credit to others (and takes blame on themselves) are very effective at
creating the loyalty that great leaders engender.
Although leaders are good with people, this does not mean they are friendly with
them. In order to keep the mystique of leadership, they often retain a degree of
separation and aloofness.
This does not mean that leaders do not pay attention to tasks – in fact they are
often very achievement-focused. What they do realize, however, is the
importance of enthusing others to work towards their vision.
Seek risk
In the same study that showed managers as risk-averse, leaders appeared as
risk-seeking, although they are not blind thrill-seekers. When pursuing their
vision, they consider it natural to encounter problems and hurdles that must be
overcome along the way. They are thus comfortable with risk and will see routes
that others avoid as potential opportunities for advantage and will happily break
rules in order to get things done.
A surprising number of these leaders had some form of handicap in their lives
which they had to overcome. Some had traumatic childhoods, some had
problems such as dyslexia, others were shorter than average.
8
In Summary
This table summarizes the above (and more) and gives a sense of the differences
between being a leader and being a manager. This is, of course, an illustrative
characterization, and there is a whole spectrum between either ends of these
scales along which each role can range. And many people lead and manage at
the same time, and so may display a combination of behaviors.
Subject Leader Manager
Essence Change Stability
Focus Leading people Managing work
Have Followers Subordinates
Horizon Long-term Short-term
Seeks Vision Objectives
Approach Sets direction Plans detail
Decision Facilitates Makes
Power Personal charisma Formal authority
Appeal to Heart Head
Energy Passion Control
Dynamic Proactive Reactive
Persuasion Sell Tell
Style Transformational Transactional
Exchange Excitement for work Money for work
Likes Striving Action
Wants Achievement Results
Risk Takes Minimizes
Rules Breaks Makes
Conflict Uses Avoids
Direction New roads Existing roads
Truth Seeks Establishes
Concern What is right Being right
Credit Gives Takes
Blame Takes Blames
9
The question for you is: As you consider the difference between a leader and a
manager what image do you have of yourself in those roles, or of the
“leader/manger” you follow or report to?
Fifth Example: The Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha
In cultural studies the observation is heard that the procedure, content and process of
education is frequently ethnocentric in terms of race, nation and culture. It is
commonplace to focus the lens of such an observation on western centricity to the
exclusion of eastern thought and practice. In this fifth non-education establishment view
of leadership the Noble Eightfold Path of the Buddha will be cited. The Buddha, whose
name translated means the “Enlightened One” was born Siddhattha Gotama in North
India in the 6th century BCE. He was of royal lineage but denounced it all to follow a
path as an ascetic. Today Buddhism has over 365 million adherents. It is the fourth
largest religion in the world.
Central to what the Buddha taught was the Noble Eightfold Path. The application to
those who would say Come follow me is obvious: As cited in The Teaching of the
Buddha [1996] by Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, the eight are:
1. Right view is the true understanding of the four noble truths, to believe in the
law of cause and effect and not to be deceived by appearances and desires. [The
four noble truths of Buddhism will not be considered here].
2. Right aspiration is the true desire to free oneself from attachment, ignorance,
and hatefulness
3. Right speech involves abstaining from lying, gossiping, or hurtful talk.
4. Right action involves abstaining from hurtful behaviors
5. Right livelihood means making your living in such a way as to avoid
dishonesty and hurting others.
6. Right effort is a matter of exerting oneself in regards to the content of one’s
mind: Bad qualities should be abandoned and prevented from arising again;
Good qualities should be enacted and nurtured
7. Right mindfulness is the focusing of one’s attention on one’s body, feelings,
thoughts, and consciousness in such a way as to overcome craving, hatred, and
ignorance
8. Right concentration is meditating in such a way as to progressively realize a
true understanding of imperfection, impermanence, and non-separateness.
The question for each of us in a leadership position is: In the context of personal
reflection as each of us considers our qualifications and professional competence to
lead both pre service as well as in service to what extent does the eightfold path apply to
self?
10
Scores upon scores of other authorities and sources could be cited, but hopefully the point
has been made. Promoting self as being professionally competent to function as an
administrator, manager or leader over others is a serious matter. Being professionally
competent must mean more than being senior and thus it is “my” turn. Being
professionally competent must mean more than being in the right place at the right time.
It must have more to recommend it than favoritism for anyone one of a myriad of
reasons. The mantle must not be bestowed for being an ideological soul-mate but not
professionally competent.
Volumes have been written about leadership, but considering the characteristics and
qualities of leadership is not the primary focus of this monograph. They are readily
accessible via the Internet and other Creedon monographs. There is a case for proposing
that leadership is primarily situational and that the leader must be able to operate
consistent with alternative leadership styles depending on the situation. I support that
notion but it will not be the focus of this section. In both of these areas for those who
have said to other: “Come Follow me” there is an obligation to embrace the ancient
Greek aphorism frequently attributed to Socrates and Know Thyself. There is an
obligation to consider where you fit and function along the continuum of leadership
styles and situational leadership.
“The Vision Thing”
During the United States presidency of George H.W. Bush, the senior, [1989-1993] he
was subjected to ridicule for his dismissive use of the phrase “the vision thing”. It was
alleged that the first President Bush was unclear in certain areas as to a specific vision for
the United States. He referred dismissively to the “vision thing,” a negative connotation
stuck and the term remains associated with him.
However, it is “the vision thing” that can separate the manager from the leader. An
effective manager might be without a vision for the organization he/she serves while a
characteristic of a leader is that he/she does have a vision for the organization. The
American historian Henry Adams once wrote that the leader “resembles the commander
of a ship at sea. He must have a helm to grasp, a course to steer, a port to seek.” [Arthur
M. Schlesinger, “State of the ‘Vision Thing,” Los Angles Times newspaper, January 21,
2004]. The distinction between manager and leader can be that while the manager is
effectively at the helm and is steering a pre determined course, he/she is not seeking a
specific port. In Contrast the leader is at the helm, steering the best known course and
headed for a specific port.
There is more to leadership than knowing where you are going and knowing how to get
there. There is the moral dimension. Guiding a ship to port is not in itself a commendable
action if the purpose of the journey is to fulfill an action devoid of virtue, thus an
immoral action. Immorality in this context does not suggest deviant sexual proclivities;
rather it implies what Sergiovanni and Starratt identify as professional virtues. They are:
[Sergiovanni and Starratt, Supervision a Redefinition, 6th edition, McGraw Hill, 1998, p. 75].
11
􀀁 A commitment to practice in an exemplary way
􀀁 A commitment to practice toward valued social ends
􀀁 A commitment not only to one’s own practice but to the practice itself
􀀁 A commitment to the ethic of caring
Sergiovanni and Starratt make the point that until recently scholars and professionals
would have been embarrassed to talk of moral action as a dimension of school leadership.
[Sergiovanni and Starratt, op. cit, p. 74]. I believe that statement needs clarification. A cursory
examination of the history of education suggests to me that the exact opposite is true.
Until the post WW II era moral education and leadership was a strong components in
schooling.
Moral leadership is closely identified with leadership pre se. The late Professor
Schlesinger referred to it when commenting on the “vision thing” associated with the first
USA President Bush. Professor Schlesinger cited another US president from an earlier
era. He quoted President Franklin Roosevelt [1932-1945] as stating that presidential
leadership:
…was not merely an administrative office. That’s the least of it. It is more than an
engineering job, efficient or inefficient. It is predominantly a place of moral
leadership. All our great presidents…were possessed by their visions.
The Principal Principle
The weekly magazine Newsweek annually publishes a special report where it identifies
what it considers to be the best high schools in the United States. The May 28, 2007 issue
of Newsweek carried the 2007 report. In commenting on what places a high school among
the best, Newsweek focused on the person, role, characteristics and qualities of the
principal as a leader. Newsweek acknowledged that the principal has a great deal to do
with determining how good the school will be. It is what Newsweek calls the “Principal
Principle.” The Newsweek article asserts that “Good principals…set the tone for what
happens from the moment the opening bell rings and can turn a troubled school around
with a combination of vision, drive and very hard work”.
Newsweek cited the many hats a principal must wear including those of “politician, crisis
manager, cheerleader, legal expert, disciplinarian, entertainer, coaches and persuasive
evangelists for their school’s educational mission.” Newsweek asserted that those seeking
to be leaders must have “endless energy” and a “talent for getting the best out of a large
team.” The magazine quoted a prominent principal as recognizing that:
12
It no longer works to be a dictator or a sage on the stage….You have to be a
leader of instructional leaders. You have to be someone who can really motivate
people to go the extra mile because the job of teacher is far more difficult and
complex [than before].
Newsweek recognized that a “good principal has to be up to speed on constantly
expanding education research and know how to apply the latest data.
Above all, the good principal needs to be “someone who understands the needs of
teenagers.”
A question for you is: Has Newsweek got it right?
So What
To what extent are the characteristics and qualities of leadership alluded to thus far in this
piece prerequisite to successful stewardship as a leader? If Abraham Lincoln can be
recognized as a good example of leadership then the answer is: Not much. Abraham
Lincoln was the 26th President of the United States. He led the USA during its Civil War
from1860–1865 [Al Gore, Assault on Reason, 2007, p.2. Gore was Vice president under President
Clinton from1993-2001]. President Lincoln was devoid of many, if not most, of the
leadership characteristics that are promoted today as basic to success.
Lincoln historian Andrew Ferguson in his 2007 book Land of Lincoln has been critical of
the paucity of Lincoln’s organizational and leadership skills. Ferguson quoted Lincoln’s
secretary John Hay as asserting that Lincoln’s law office:
…was a model of inefficiency. He left most administrative details to clerks, aware
of his own disorganization and lack of business savvy….As chief executive his
handling of subordinates appeared chaotic, an unpredictable oscillation between
fussy micromanagement and distracted indifference. His White House office
resisted all efforts to impose method and routine…there was little order or system
about it….He was extremely unmethodical; it was a four-year struggle to get him
to adopt some systemic rules [Ferguson, pp.172-3].
According to Ferguson Lincoln’s Attorney General was no more kind in his assessment of
the slain president’s executive ability. Attorney General Edward Bates wrote:
…It is now evident that the Administration has no system – no unity – no
accountability – no subordination. Men are appointed and not trusted – interfered
with, and so relieved from all responsibility. Of course therefore, things ran all
wrong [Ferguson, p. 174].
13
In his own assessment Ferguson noted that Lincoln was:
Supremely self-confident and rarely solicited advice from those around him, as
modern managers are always told to do, and even more rarely did he reveal his
thoughts until they were fully matured [Ferguson, p. 174].
Ferguson concluded that President Lincoln:
…evidently had no faith in that essential technique of the modern non-hierarchal
corporation, the brainstorming session….Even his most sensitive decisions were
presented to his colleagues as a fait accompli [Ferguson, p.174].
Certainly there is nothing in the above citations and conclusions of Ferguson that would
suggest that Abraham Lincoln was the person who ought to be saying “Come follow me.”
Yet he did just that. He led the United States in the most divisive era in his history. An
era that resulted in civil war.
The questions for you are: How can Lincoln’s brand of leadership be reconciled
with the generally recognized characteristics and behavior of a leader today? How
should Lincoln’s approach to leadership be defined and understood? To what extent
is it defensible today? Are there any Abraham Lincoln type leaders in your
professional life? Are you one?
Where and Why?
Lead Where and Why and a Platform for Education
The remainder of this paper will be devoted to addressing the question: Where and Why
in response to the leader’s call to “Come follow me.” It addresses my personal views
relative to a platform for education developed plan by plank over a period of several
decades. You will note that as each plank in the platform is cited at the end I have cited
the year in which I first addressed that dimension of what came to be my platform for
education.
It is my contention that every person who is bold enough to say to others “Come follow
me” has an obligation to indicate where and why in the context of a comprehensive,
systemic platform for education. Conceptually my platform reflects a constructivist
approach to education and learning.
The platform cited here is comprehensive and systemic in that it:
􀀁 Begins with a statement of what I believe to be the purpose and significance of
education
􀀁 Identifies a series of basic assumptions I hold relative to education and learning
􀀁 Cites seven axioms [belief statements] that under gird my practice.
􀀁 Identifies what for me are the components of a platform for education
14
􀀁 Lays out the components of a student centered design for learning
􀀁 Identifies the systemic dimensions of a total quality management program.
My platform for education is not something that was drafted overnight or in the context
of an academic exercise. In theory it reflects a constructivist approach to education and
learning in a democratic society. In application it reflects the influence of my professional
preparation at Boston University under the mentoring of professors Gene Phillips and
Richard Rapacz in the philosophical foundations of education. It is reflective of my
personal experience as a classroom teacher, public school superintendent, and university
professor both in the United States and internationally.
The development of my platform for education can be traced through the more than 150
monographs I have written on a variety of topics in education. Most of these can be found
on my web cite: http://www.larrycreedon.info. Frequently a specific Creedon monograph will
address one or more of the planks within the platform such as the Ten Component
Student Centered Design for Learning referenced below.
The Purpose and Significance of Education
Every educator ought to have a clear and distinct point of view as to what he/she believes
to be purpose and significance of education. Mine is that:
Among the purposes of education in a democratic society is to assist all learners in
becoming”
􀀁Self fulfilling individuals
􀀁 Good citizens
􀀁 Competent workers
In a world that is maximally effective for all.
1975
15
Basic Assumptions About Learning
Whether articulated by each or not, all educators harbor basic assumptions about
learning. Assumptions about learning are deeply influenced by individual beliefs related
to philosophical and pedagogical views. Some of my basic assumptions about education
and learning are:
1. Human beings are able to learn and are aware that they do learn and know.
2. Learning is more than a random process.
3. Human beings have harbored a variety and often conflicting ideas relative to mind
and/or matter.
4. The traditional dualistic position of substantive mind and substantive matter
cannot be supported.
5. The normal state of the mind is one of belief; however, all learning begins in
doubt.
6. Learning begins when doubt occurs and takes place through the simultaneous,
mutual interaction of the learner and the environment (SMILE).
March, 1975; March, 2002, 2003
Axioms That Have Guided My Practice.
The personal axioms cited here are offered in two parts. First part is a belief statement.
the second part is a conclusion based on the belief statement.
1. Among the purposes of the public school is the transmission to the young of the
ideals upon which this nation was founded; therefore, the school ought to be a
microcosm of a democratic society.
2. Participation in the decision making process characterizes a democratic society;
therefore, those who are to be affected by a decision ought to be involved in the
process of making, implementing and being held accountable for decisions made.
3. Learning is more than a random process; therefore, how human beings come to
know ought to be the most basic question of inquiry challenging educators.
4. Schools are for learners; therefore, the instructional program ought to be student
centered and responsive.
5. Educators have an obligation to assist all students in becoming self-fulfilling
individuals, good citizens, and competent workers; therefore, within the limits of
individual potential and capacity, opportunities must be provided for each person
to realize these goals.
6. Knowledge is conceptually based, has structure and is discovered by each
individual; therefore, in the curriculum concepts ought to be identified and the
instructional program ordered so as to provide for an interactive process through
which each learner in orderly and developmental fashion can learn that which is
needed to be known and can be learned.
16
7. Educators serve the public interest and are not in private practice at public
expense; therefore, a design for learning needs to be in place that provides for:
• A positive, non-threatening learning environment
• The development of professional competence through in-service education
• Curriculum, instructional and pedagogical relevance
• Effective and respectful school and classroom management
• Fiscal responsibility, business acumen, and property maintenance.
August 1979; March 2003
A Platform for Education.
A platform for education stipulates what you can expect as a program. The term platform
is used frequently in political circles. A platform identifies what an organization stands
for. It articulates what the program will be and how proponents can be held accountable
for what is or is not done.
A platform for education has many planks. Each plank focuses on a particular aspect of
the total platform. The platform expresses intent. It is not constructed to satisfy the
requirements imposed by outside sources. It is best generated internally by those who
must implement whatever the platform and its planks come to be.
The process of education needs to be rooted in a platform for learning. The platform
suggested here promotes a human capitol agenda as is indicated in the plank on the
significance and purpose of educations, to wit: Education in a world that is maximally
effective for all. No claim is made that it is exhaustive and definitive. As laid out here it
contains nine planks:
1. Building a moral community based on social virtues
2. Four foundation questions upon which the entire platform rests. [They are cited
below].
3. A set of personal axioms [belief statements, or truth signs] about learning
4. A comprehensive student centered design for learning
5. An identifiable, defensible, consistent and democratic approach to school
governance
6. A process for involving those affected by a decision in decision making.
7. Effective communication
8. Recognizing and dealing with myth versus logic in the process of education
9. A commitment to total quality management.
17
Each plank is sub-divided into specific focus areas. They are:
Plank One: Building a Moral Community
1. The importance of trust, competence, collaboration and collegiality
2. The importance of culture
3. The importance of defensible learning theory
Plank Two: Four Questions Related to the Pursuit of Quality Education
When it is all said and done it is possible to state the purpose of education as four
questions. They are:
1. What do you know about how learners come to know and to what extent do
you practice consistent with what you know?
2. Of all the things your learners can come to know what do they need to know
now and why?
3. Having insights into questions one and two how are you and your school
organized to facilitate what ought to be done?
4. What methods and tactics do you and does your school utilize in order to
implement what you have organized?
In this plank consideration is given to contributions made by past and present learning
theorists such as Herbart, Piaget, Maslow, Tyler, Bloom and Krathwhol, Bigge, Skinner,
Vygotsky, Gardner, Goleman, Levine and others.
Plank Three: Assumptions About Learning
Every teacher has basic assumptions about learning. And every educator ought to have a
set of personal beliefs, axioms or truth signs that guide his or her practice. These indicate
who you are as an educator, what you believe and thus why you behave professionally as
you do. Those shared elsewhere in this piece are my personal set of beliefs.
Plank Four: A Design for learning
Every school system ought to function in response to a locally developed comprehensive
Design for Learning. A ten component design is cited here. It is addressed in greater
detail elsewhere in this piece.
1. Purpose, goals and mission of the institution.
2. Behavioral projections: Long term cognitive, affective and psychomotor
expectations.
3. Rationale for each discipline and program included in the curriculum.
4. The concepts and the structure of knowledge underlying each discipline or
program.
5. Instructional and Performance Objectives.
6. Diagnostic and evaluative tools and procedures.
7. Constructivist compatible student learning activities: methods and tactics.
8. Appropriate utilization of multi media and electronic aids to learning.
9. A system for Total Quality Management.
10. A self learning, self actualizing learning environment.
1974; Modified 2002
18
Plank Five: School Governance
Governance is critically important. Among its characteristics are words (intent) and
action (extension) as well as myth and reality. School governors range from the all but
totally autocratic to those who have a vision rooted in defensible partiality. The latter
have developed and implemented in collaboration with colleagues strategies for shared
decision making. Definitions of leadership abound; however, here school governors are
classified into four categories:
1. ABC: Autocratic, Bureaucratic, Command, Control and Comply
2. Compliance Administrators
3. Transactional Managers
4. Transformational Leaders
Plank Six: A Procedure for Involvement in the Decision Making Process
The democratic hallmark implied here is that those who are to be affected by a decision
are involved in the process of making, implementing and being held accountable for
decisions made. This approach honors collaboration. It seeks consensus. Consensus is not
synonymous with majority rule.
A reality in taking action on decisions made consistent with a process for involvement is
that those decisions are more likely to be implemented by practitioners than those
imposed by an outside authority. The process for involvement cannot be paternalistically
determined by an authority external to those affected by the decision. Those affected
must be involved not only in decision making but in the development of the decision
making process.
To be held accountable does not imply a punitive response if something does not proceed
or succeed as intended. Rather, it means that those who have been involved in the
decision making process remain voluntarily involved until the issue is resolved. The
procedure developed ought to be applicable for all grades, levels, and disciplines
including specialized programs. It is an anchor of effective classroom management.
Involvement in decision making by practitioners ought to follow many paths. In absolute
there is nothing that goes on in school on behalf of children that should shut teachers out
of the decision making process. The idea is not to have a continuing general assembly
including everyone in a never ending town meeting type approach. However, different
strategies for involvement can be developed depending on what dimension of the
educational enterprise is being considered.
There is reason to believe that practitioner initiated action research is a best hope for
bringing about needed and meaningful change on behalf of learners. An eleven
component approach to action research I have developed and used in working with
practitioners nationally and internationally I have identified in separate monographs
under various titles. One example is: A Constructivist Approach to Brainstorming,
Shared Decision Making and Action Research.
19
The components of the process are.
1. Establish a Task Group
The group will eventually transform itself into a team. A team is not
synonymous with a group.
2. Issue Identification.
The most important and time consuming part of the process
Depending on how the effort begins, steps one and two may be addressed in
reverse order.
3. Divergent Thinking
4. A positive focus
5. Clarify-Consolidate-Restate
6. Prioritize
7. Research related to the issue
8. Refer out
9. A Systems Approach to Planning Strategies, Methods, and Tactics.
10. A Plan of Action including Assessment
11. Open-System Closure
Plank Seven: Communication
Communication has been defined Aas the process of transmitting information and
common understanding from one person to another.[Lunenburg, The Principalship –
Concepts and Applications, 1995] . However, information is not synonymous with
knowledge, and common understanding does not imply concurrence or agreement.
Information is low order cognitive factore. It does not connote comprehension,
application, valuing or internalization as understood by Bloom and Krathwohl. Effective
communication is more than the process of transmitting information. The elements in the
communication process determine the quality of communication.
Several questions proposed by Lunenburg are:
1. What is communication?
2. How does the communication process operate?
3. How does communication flow in a school organization?
4. What are communication networks and how do they operate?
5. What are the barriers to effective communication in schools?
6. How can principals (and others) overcome communication barriers?
7. What role does feedback play?
8. What role is played by nonverbal communication?
Plank Eight: Myth versus Logic
Myth and logic are frequently at odds with one another. Myth is a common phenomenon.
Myths about the past are held and believed by and about individuals, groups, institutions,
societies and cultures. Frequently myth is culturally driven. Many times logic and
scientific inquiry defy myth. However, myth will continue to drive and sustain the
enterprise. A reliance on myth can deter growth and continuous improvement. Myths can
hinder collaborative efforts for continuous improvement.
20
Educators, other stakeholders and the general public harbor myths about what education
is and ought to be. Students deal in the reality of what education is. The concept of myth
is considered effectively by Mel Levine, The Myth of Laziness, (2003).
Summer, 2000
Plank Nine: Total Quality Management
Total Quality Management [TQM] is a systemic approach to conceptualizing,
understanding, developing, managing, and assessing an entire enterprise such as a school
or a school system. TQM recognizes that if one component of the enterprise is affected,
the impact will be felt within the whole. TQM is a management system.
School Based Management [SBM] and [SDM] are not the same, however, each can be
used as a subset of TQM. The approach to TQM cited here is that developed by W.
Edwards Deming. The fourteen points of Deming=s program are:
1. Constancy of Purpose.
2. A New Philosophy.
3. The End to the Dependence on Inspection in Determining Quality.
4. The end to the Procedure of Always Choosing the Lowest Bidder; Doing
Things: AOn the Cheap.@
5. Continuous Improvement as a Constant.
6. In Service Development Through on the Job Training.
7. Transformational Leadership.
8. Drive Fear Out of the Workplace – The School.
9. Breakdown Internal Barriers that Inhibit Continuous Progress.
10. Put an End to the Use of Slogans, Exhortations and Targets.
11. Put an End to Numerical Quotas and Management by Objectives (MBO).
12. Remove Barriers to Pride in Work.
13. Put an End to Annual Evaluations and Such things as the Merit System.
14. Institute Education Programs to Assure Continuous Improvement.
Fall 1994
A Design for Learning
Common sense requires that the school with a mission that is so critical to the well being
not only of individuals but also of society as a whole ought to operate consistent with a
systemic design for learning. While TQM focuses on managing the enterprise, a Design
for Learning considers the purpose and significance of education, as well as the approach
to learning practiced by educators.
Ironically, most frequently this is not the case and the school is characterized by an
amalgam of disjointed fiefdoms operating consistent with past practice as well as in
response to external pressures and exigencies of the moment. Often what is promoted as
exemplary practice at one level is scorned at another and all too frequently ultimately
abandoned all together. As a result critics accuse educators of being faddists. A school
without a design for learning is akin to a boat without a rudder, a chef without a recipe, or
an architect without a plan. Add your own analogy.
21
I was part of a team of Quincy Public School colleagues who developed the ten
component design for learning delineated here. The effort was an example of teacher
action research implemented before the term entered the professional lexicon. Quincy’s
Design for Learning begins with a consideration of goals, mission and purpose. It
articulates a defensible position relative to a structure of the discipline based curriculum.
It embraces a pedagogically sound approach to articulating instructional objectives. It is
sensitive to individual learning needs and styles. It promotes a positive learning
environment characterized by an inquiry and discovery approach to learning.
It affirms that for total quality the enterprise must be managed in a systemic manner.
The ten components are:
1. Goals
To assist all learners in becoming self fulfilling individuals, competent workers
and good citizens of a democratic society in a world that is maximally effective
for all.
2. Behavioral Projections
Provide a learning environment where all learners
. Master fundamental processes
Acquire marketable skills
Respect individuality
Develop a life style of inquiry
Are self motivated learners
. Have opportunities for individual expression
Develop an ability to cope with and guide change
Build habits for the worthy use of leisure time
Maintain good physical and mental health
Strive for cultural, academic and scientific literacy
3. Rationale
Rationale has to do with why? Why this or that subject or content? Why are things
taught as they are? Why a particular approach to learning? Why a particular
teacher? Why these learning materials? Why this learning environment and
classroom management system? Why this organizational structure?
4. Concepts and the Structure of the Discipline.
Concepts constitute the framework upon which the curriculum is built and are the
foundation upon which the instructional program is built. Concepts address the
source or sources of knowledge be it an eternal truth, a result of the natural order
of things, or personal discovery through scientific inquiry. The structure of
knowledge provides a pathway for learners to follow in discovering and
understanding of relationships between and among content areas. Structure
provides a skeletal framework for vertical and horizontal articulation within as
well as across content areas.
22
5. Instructional and Performance Objectives.
The instructional program is identified here. Instructional and Performance
objectives are not synonymous terms. Instructional objectives focus on the
learning activity proposed by the teacher. Performance objectives indicate what
the learner ought to be able to do as a result of participating in the activity. Both
flow from the concepts addressed in component four. There is a structure to the
objectives ranging from general objectives associated with a learning domain to
specific objectives directed to a specific task. Objectives are developed in all six
of Benjamin Bloom’s cognitive taxonomy.
6. Diagnosing Learning Needs and Evaluating Outcomes
All instruction ought to proceed consistent with an Individual Education Plan
[IEP] for each learner. However, as yet that is not practical. Nevertheless, every
effort ought to be made diagnose the learning needs and style of all students.
Schools have a long way to go in this area. In evaluating learning outcomes
rubrics that address content and process ought to be used and alternative authentic
assessment techniques utilized. Evaluative instruments ought to include those are
criterion, norm, and domain referenced as well as teacher developed.
7 .Student Learning Activities
This component addresses what goes on behind the classroom door. In practical
application it is frequently the only thing that is of interest to students. It is where
the action is! All learning activities ought to be implemented within the structure
of a classroom management system. It is here that lesson planning fits in.
Appropriate planning is essential to competent instruction and effective learning.
Factors to be considered in planning include:
􀀁The purpose, rationale, and overview of the learning activity.
􀀁Reference to the concept(s) addressed and the objectives being pursued.
􀀁Activities designed to stimulate doubt and create a need to know
􀀁Alternative learning materials to address individual learning needs.
􀀁Involving students in decision making related to their own learning
􀀁Procedure for assessing the activity and evaluating student performance.
8. Appropriate Multi-Media, Electronic Aids to Learning and Technology.
In response to what is known about how each individual learns best the full range of
multi-media, manipulative, and electronic aids to learning ought to be utilized.
9. Classroom Management System
Classroom management goes far beyond a concern for disciplining misbehaving
students. It requires the development of a system for managing everything that goes
on not only behind the classroom door but also in the school as a whole.
10. Climate for Learning
Second to none is a consideration of a positive, enabling climate for learning.
23
Conclusion
When an individual steps forward and seeks to be the leader it is not enough to offer
paper credentials and even prior experience in other leadership roles as justification for
the petition to others to “Come follow me.” As has been indicated here the credentials of
the person seeking to lead others must be rooted in a clear, distinct, rational and
defensible platform for education. It is then that those who are being asked to accept the
leadership of another can take comfort in a comprehensive and systemic response to their
question of: Where and why?
Ipse dixit.
Lawrence P. Creedon
http://www.larrycreedon.info
Pompano Beach, FL. November, 2003
Cape Cod, MA. May, 2007
[7500words].