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Monday, August 08, 2016

Developing a Professional Culture

Old time factory models of schools are being replaced by professional models.

What does this mean? What does this look like?

As we transform schools from industrial models to "knowledge age" or living systems models, what changes occur?

As I think of schools of old to schools we envision, I am wondering about what changes positively impact this movement, and why does it matter.

Communication of all news and information that impacts an organization is forthcoming and accessible. Information is dated and authors names are clearly represented. This helps everyone in an organization including students, families, educators, paraeducators, staff members, administrators and citizens to understand what's happened, what is currently happening, and what is planned. This kind of communication helps people to collaborate in efficient and effective ways.

Example: A weekly newsletter is sent out to the entire learning/teaching team to keep everyone abreast of important news, events, analyses, and plans.

Distributive leadership models create opportunity for all organization members to have voice with regard to the efforts, decisions, and vision for an organization.

Example: Idea exchange systems exist that invite regular, consistent voice, discussion, and debate.

Efficient Systems
Systematic effort is analyzed and updated to create efficient, natural systems of share. Living systems, knowledge age models of decision making, idea share, and collaboration lead the efforts of organization members.

Example: Technology supports ready, facile data collection and analysis.

Fluidity and Flexibility
Patterns and routines of old are replaced by ongoing, fluid, and flexible analyses, problem solving, collaboration, and proactive change, revision, modification, and enrichment. Rather than a system of expected dates, the movement of organizations take on more of a dance-like motion that leads its members through natural patterns of growth and evolution.

Example: Purchasing happens throughout the year, not at set times.

Whereas schools were once housed in a building, schools have more of a permeable nature where learning happens online and offline in multiple places in traditional school buildings and outside of school.

Example: Students may spend a week learning at a farm, rather than the classroom.

Role Variation
Rather than a few roles, schools begin to embrace a larger variation and differentiation related to roles. Roles better reflect research related to cognition, organizational success, students' needs and interests, and community values and challenges.

Example: A special needs teacher becomes an expert on a specific approach and rather than coming in to support the teacher, he/she teaches a powerful new approach that fosters student success.

Organizations are inclusive in almost all activity inviting the greater organization into decision making and efforts.

Example: Open forums invite voice regularly--that voice is looked at as advantageous.

A more professional culture in schools elevates the investment and commitment of all members of a learning organization. Taking down the barriers between groups creates a more fluid and flexible culture, one in which everyone is a valued member with voice and value.

Do you think that most schools embrace a professional culture now or do you think there's room for change here? If you believe that learning/teaching organizations can become more professional, what would you change to reach that vision? With regard to the points above, do you agree? What other ideas do you have related to this discussion?