PLENK10 has sharpened my awareness for the need to consider how to support the development of PLE/PLN concepts in the daily learning work of leaders in compulsory education.
In New Zealand great emphasis is being placed on school leaders being true leaders of learning and in particular being pedagogical leaders. For school principals that broad focus is combined with leading school administration – the result a for ever difficult set of choices about how to use time effectively. Too often the principal gets buried in the day to day and in your face issues and events instead of the more important development of learning processes for student achievement.
Since 2006 when moderately fast “broadband” became available to nearly all NZ schools there has been increased use of IT/online elements by principals but for many the time issues have prevented them using the array of elements with the productivity expected. (This “productivity paradox” is found in nearly all industries – invest in IT and yet the promised increase in productivity does not eventuate.)
The flood of expectation about data, fast communication and the sheer volume of possibilities for pedagogical leadership are all acting as impediments to “higher productivity”.
Hence my point about how do you support the development of PLE/PLN in the working lives of busy school principals?
Is it possible to identify and apply the various skill sets and intents that are useful? Discussion in PLENK suggests progress can be made here. I’ll be sharing and seeking with interest.
One aspect of principal practice that could be applied as an essential building block for their learning is the “slow down and think one”. I could argue that 8 hours a month to stop and learn about an aspect of learning that the principal has identified as important seems to be a great way to base a PLE in a meaningful foundation.
This seems only a start though – how can a principal develop the PLE approaches, skill sets and confidence with IT/internet settings? How can he/she shape their PLE to best fit their educational context? How can support for principals be applied to improve the situation without impinging on the control and direction of the individual principal? (Remember in NZ each school is self-managing and the principal is a key figure in this school development.)
More to come.