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Saturday, February 06, 2016

Core Beliefs and Attitudes Affect Teaching/Learning Organizations Significantly

A comment was shared that belittled the work we do as educators. The teachers that heard it were struck with dismay. Amazing to think that someone who is supposed to support us actually believes our work requires little intellectual investment or skill. True, we work with young children, but untrue that our work doesn't require deep research, continual effort, and knowledge to do the job well.

I never thought much about the fact that the base of poor support could actually come from an individual's core beliefs and/or experience about what it takes to teach well. I always thought that every educational leader believed in what it takes to teach well and knew that to do the job requires depth and breadth of knowledge, skill, and effort. Naive yes, but I thought that, perhaps, a lack of support came mostly from a lack of knowledge as to how to lead or a lack of effort, but it didn't occur to me that it could come from one's core beliefs about teaching and learning.

If it's the case that some leaders do not believe in the depth and breadth necessary to teach and learn well, then that sheds light on different kinds of needed changes to boost what we can do in schools. Perhaps it's less about leadership and more about conviction, understanding, and belief in what it takes to teach well that's at the root of boosting what we can do as educators. Perhaps some truly do hold on to old beliefs about who and what a teacher is, beliefs that are rooted in less respect and depth, and beliefs that hold us back from the structures and attitudes that move schools on with strength and promise.

As in any job, I believe that good teaching profits from a commitment, education, experience, and continued learning/research. I don't think that just anyone can teach well just as I don't think just anyone can do any job well--to do our work well in any field requires good effort, knowledge, and skill. I also believe that our organizations profit from leadership that has respect for and belief in the work we do--a sense of reverence for workers and clients alike and a sense of team for what good culture and investment brings to a community, organization, goals, and vision.

The remark I heard may have been repeated incorrectly or represented without accuracy, but the awareness that came from it, an awareness, for me, that reveals that core beliefs and understanding are at the root of good service and leadership no matter what role you play in an organization is important. How do we, as leaders and educators in any field, continually revisit our core beliefs and depth about what we do and what those in our midst do in order to make sure that our beliefs, attitudes, and efforts are rooted in knowledge, service, and attitudes that are uplifting, forward moving, and reverent with regard to those we serve and work with. What processes help us to revisit these core beliefs? How can we make time and listen to each other so that we understand what each other believes in this regard? I will think more on this in the days ahead, but as I think, I realize that at this juncture in education, it may be a time where related circles of thought and share in this regard are integral as we move our organizations forward.