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Skip Resolutions, Set Goals

Shared Vision by William Ferriter (Flickr) CC

The new year is a great time to set new goals. I have decided to do something different this year and actually share my goals. So often we keep such things to ourselves. Maybe because others do not actually care about our goals, but also because we sometimes fear in sharing our goals that we open ourselves up to ridicule and failure. The problem with this mentality is that sometimes we are unable to really succeed, because we are unwilling to ever fail. So in the spirit of life-long learning here are my goals for 2014 ...

#1 - Utilise data in a more structured manner within the classroom in order to better personalise learning

There has been a real rise in education over the last few years in regards to the use of data. What has been interesting though is that often this 'data' has a tendency to be neither personal nor individual, whether it be things such as staff opinion surveys or NAPLAN results. Such data often speaks more about the overall culture of the school, rather than capturing what is actually happening within the classroom. In the past, I have always sort student's feedback at the end of each term, while in addition to this I started using the 'exit ticket' option in Socrative last year to get a better feeling for where students may be at. The challenge though is to not only gather this information, but to also utilise this in a structured and meaningful way in order to better personalise learning in the classroom.

#2 - Provide clearer instructions and more time for student lead learning

Whether it be flipping the classroom or giving more a voice to students, I really want to work on limiting the time spent on instruction to allow more time spent working with groups and individuals. Although a lot of my classes have a plethora of technology to draw upon, whether it be 1-to-1 netbooks or interactive whiteboards, making it easier to provide instructions and information online or in a more engaging manner. The biggest challenge though is how to limit the 'teacher talk time' (TTT) when technology is either not available or playing up. I recently purchased +Mark Barnes's The 5-Minute Teacher after reading +Peter DeWitt's post earlier this year, but am still on the hunt for more ideas and strategies. 

#3 - Lead by providing clearer reasons for change and supporting others in becoming better leaders

I always thought that the biggest challenge in regards to being a leader was getting things done. I have learnt along the way that individually you can get a lot done - setting up passwords, organising timetables, creating various collaborative documents - however, nothing really evolves and spreads. Although this approach may model the practise that you wish from others, it is all to no avail if no one actually takes it on. My challenge therefore is to support and empower others. 

I was particularly taken by a recent post from +Ian Guest calling us to skip the how and what and instead start with the why. In the past, I naively thought that the why was someone else's job, whether it be the government, network leaders or the principal team. However, over the years I have learnt that even though these people may support you, everyone has a job to sell learning, whether it be to parents, students or fellow students.

In addition to this, I was particularly taken by a post from Mary Jo Asmus in which she spoke about developing leaders as being everybody's responsibility. This can take on many shapes, such as tapping all potential, as well as leaving a legacy. However, what stood out most in Asmus' list was the importance of developing a culture of leadership. Having written elsewhere about the spreading leadership and the development of agreed responsibilities, I have learnt that often the best way to evolve things is to support everyone in taking on the responsibility of change themselves. My challenge then is how to best support this.

Can You Help Me?  

Having read through my goals for 2014, are there any suggestions that you would give? Resources? Ideas? Strategies? I would love your thoughts in the comments.

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