Michael Fullan says that ‘educational change is technically simple but socially complex.’ This statement has really made me think about my journey so far as a leader with a new school set up, and the challenges I’ve faced this year. I can remember starting the year with a new team and really wanting to drive change in new pedagogies to align to our school vision and new ‘innovative learning environment’.
In Term one, we started with a series of professional development meetings with a focus on pedagogical change. I soon realised that I hadn’t considered what Fullan calls the system of variables, which determine success or failure. We hadn’t built the most important factor – strong working relationships with each other. Fullan calls this as the most important factor.
As a result, I rearranged the professional development meetings towards understanding true collaboration in Term 2. I was inspired and informed by Fullan’s work on relationships: ‘these new meanings, new behaviours, new skills and new beliefs will depend significantly on whether teachers are working as isolated individuals or are exchanging ideas, support and positive feelings about work.
I think now in Term 3 we are becoming more collegial with more open communication, trust, support and help. We are learning on the job and trying out new innovation ideas, which I continue to promote!
Innovation is key to educational change, and is something I often reflect on. Fullen describes real innovation in education as a change in (a). use of curriculum resources, (b). teaching practices, (c). beliefs and understandings about the curriculum and learning practices. We have seen these practices and beliefs improve student learning.
I feel that this work on team building and innovation, is taking us to the next part of the journey. Exciting times ahead.