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Sunday, August 07, 2016

Inclusive Paths Lead to Successful Teaching/Learning Paths

Why should schools embrace living system, distributive models
rather than industrial/corporate hierarchical models?
I am a proponent of inclusive rather than exclusive teaching environments.

Too often educators are left out of teaching/learning decision making and this dilutes what's possible when it comes to serving students well.

New ESSA laws call for the inclusion of educators, family members, and paraprofessionals when it comes to making decisions.

ESSA demands that teaching/learning organizations re-look at their systematic processes with regard to all decision making so that all stakeholders are involved.

How can systems make this shift?
  • Evaluate decision making teams? How do they work? What processes do they employ? Who truly has voice in these teams?
  • Evaluate for authentic vs. inauthentic work. At times voice may be invited, but not heard or considered. For educators to be truly apart of the decision making, their voices need to be considered in fair, visible, valuable, and effective ways.
  • Rethink systematic process in terms of time, place, and invitees. Often stakeholders may be invited, but the time or place is not realistic. Make inclusivity a goal of systematic process.
  • Communicate with regularity, transparency, and inclusivity--the more people know in timely, regular ways, the better work we'll do. When information is not forthcoming, it stands like a brick wall with regard to the potential possible. 
Distributive leadership is the path to greater inclusion. To create distributive leadership, systems need to create intersecting circles of decision making and leadership. For example, from my role perspective, I would sit on a grade-level circle of leadership where we meet regularly to make decisions about the grade-level program. I could imagine that each teacher from each school sits on one or more grade-level circle related to main subject areas. I also imagine that within each school, there is a grade(s)-level circle too that meets to share the information from the subject-area circles. I imagine that specialists are matched to subject-area circles as well and perhaps shift over time so that the specials intersect with subject areas. To simplify this, visualize a web of intersecting circles all working within the circle and then intersecting with other circles. Imagine the way a space in nature works--an ecosystem of interacting, flexible parts whose goal is strong survival and positive, collective effect. 

Image Reference

Redesigning systems and moving those systems from old time factory models to living systems means that we all have to be more flexible as we embrace distributive models over hierarchical models of work. This is the way the world is moving, and to embrace a living system distributive model is to model for students how they will interact with their future world. There is great potential here for good work that contributes to strong, vital communities. 

I need to read and think more on this, but I know that this is a positive path to better teaching/learning organizations. Do you agree?

Related image sent to me by @MikeRitzius: