In response to the post the discussed E. Don Brown’s advice that from a system standpoint, “the Principal’s role is to be the pure advocate for students,” a reader writes:
“It makes sense that the principle of student advocacy should be led by the principal leader of students. It reminds me of a principle I have shared with colleagues, that our duty as instructional leaders seeking exemplary schools is to develop instruction leaders in exemplary classrooms. They, in turn, are developing instructional leaders in exemplary students who are then instructional leaders of students and learning. The most powerful learning happens in peer teaching, coaching and mentoring. Who says we can’t have a school filled with powerful instruction leaders who are sold out to life-long learning for all constituents?”
Your distilling of the concepts parallels two conversations I have had that have stayed with me and impact my professional actions. The first conversation was when Dr. Jim Davis and I were struggling with the poor academic performance of very “street smart” students. The product of the conversation was an instructional format built on the belief that the only way a student could cheat, would be not to help his buddy. In other words, build a classroom that operated with a teacher and 20 full-time peer tutors. Two words: IT WORKS.
The second conversation was with Dr. Mike Laird, as we were discussing the effect of teachers implementing the Fundamental Five at high frequency has on students. What we have observed is that as students become more actively engaged in the learning, they begin to “own” their learning. As this sense of “ownership” matures, the intrinsic need to learn more, increases. The result – a classroom full willing volunteers, instead of a waiting room of bored clock watchers – the dream of every teacher and school leader.
Your last sentence is what drives the Lead Your School team and network. We must have schools filled with engaged leaders who will not rest until every constituent is a life-long learner.
Think. Work. Achieve.