In transitioning to a more networked mode of schooling and teaching it is important for both teachers and heads to
- have an in-depth understanding of the transition that has, and has not occurred
- adjudge their school’s position and understand where it wants to move, and
- contribute to shaping the desired future.
It bears reiterating that every school is at different stage in its transitioning.
It is appreciated that belief is not shared by most governments and education bureaucracies. They still like to perpetuate the myth that all schools are the same, and as such will therefore be at the same point in their transition to a more networked mode.
The pandemic underscored the fallacy of that thinking.
Rather it affirmed, to the students, parents, teachers and heads the different stages schools were at in the transitioning, and the very real likelihood the better led schools were transitioning much faster and extensively than those lacking the leadership, vision, and drive.
Look at the schools around you, talk to your colleagues, consider how the different schools have handled the pandemic, their level of readiness to teach remotely and to thrive within the more networked mode and you’ll have affirmed their uniqueness, and the different stages each are in their transition.
Indeed, you’ll likely find the same variation within the school. Different teachers and different operational areas like HR, communications, marketing, finance, and staff development could well be more networked than others.
Critical to school’s shaping the desired future is always understanding the school’s current state of transition within all operational areas.
- Has your school examined its transition to a more networked mode over the last twenty plus years, its nature, and identified the key trends that have emerged?
- Has it done so in all operational areas?
- How well prepared was the school, and indeed the staff to provide the desired, quality remote teaching when COVID first hit?
- How much better placed is the school today?
- What steps have now to be taken?
Below is an evolutionary continuum that Roger Broadie and I identified in 2016 (Lee and Broadie, 2016), well before the impetus provided by the pandemic.
Where on first glance would you position your school?
How well prepared are you to adjudge?
Few, if any initial teacher education (ITE) institutions help teachers make that call, particularly in a more networked mode.
Nor do education authorities.
Indeed, you’ll unlikely to find any national or provincial teacher standards that would contemplate classroom teachers making that call or suggesting they should be readied to make that call.
However, a vast body of business research and literature speaks to the imperative of all professional staff within networked organisations having the understanding, ability, and agency to assist in enhancing its performance and growth.
Heretical it might be, but the next post argues that every teacher, from day one in their teaching should be readied to play the dual role of a specialist teacher and an education generalist, immediately able to adjudge where schools are at in the transition.