Emerging Theory of Action: Tim Houlton

My emerging theory of action states, “If we create opportunities to enhance the professional capital of all staff members, then a cohesive learning culture that is centered on improving the level of academic and social engagement for all learners will exist.” Telling teachers what to do does not create opportunities to enhance practice.  Dictating the actions of others is not an effective leadership practice.  I learned this recently during a debrief session with my leadership mentors. My understanding of effective school leadership has changed throughout my course work and experience working with my mentor principal. I want to be a transformational instructional leader like the ones that Joseph Sanfelippo and Tony Sinanis reference in Principal Professional Development (Leading Learning in the Digital Age). I want to be a resonant leader. Boyatzis and Mckee (as cited in Sanfelippo and Sinanis, 2015, p. 8) said that a leader, “could impact change within the organization by building resonant relationships with those around him or her.” In leading the learning of adults, I want to create an atmosphere of congeniality where instructors are sharing high leverage practices that enhance levels of engagement and the depth of knowledge being obtained by students in the classroom. I want to motivate others to feel passionate about an agreed upon shared vision and goals that focus on broadening educational leadership relationships that use student driven data to support evolving individual practices that are better suited to meet the needs of kids in our new age of technology. Boyatzis and McKee (Sanfelippo and Sinanis, p.9) go on to say that, “Great leaders are able to inspire the community through an optimistic perspective and a clear mission focused on collective goals. “In the article, School improvement in high-capacity schools: Educational leadership and living-systems ontology, by Coral Mitchell and Larry Sackney, it talks about high-capacity schools analyzing the outcomes of actual practices. It states, “Coordination of practice grew from analyzing the outcomes of actual practices and following up with collective problem solving as needed” (Educational Management Administration & Leadership, Mitchell and Sackney, 2016, p. 854).

There are several aspects of leadership I hope to better understand when leading the learning of adults. As a leader, I want to access more tools to help support instructors that want to use high leverage practices during instruction. I’ve experienced several instances where teachers were eager to grow and change but needed some specific strategies.  In addition, when planning professional development learning sessions that are “sticky” and follow Fred Ende’s “Oreo cookie” approach to learning that “Protect the center with structurally sound bookends (i.e. Planning and follow up) so we’re able to discover an incredibly rich and substantive central phase (Professional Development That Sticks, Fred Ende, 2016, p. 31”). I’m wondering if there are specific strategies or practices that enable teachers to enhance the metacognitive recognition within each learner so they can successfully answer the question, “How do I know I’m learning?” Finally, when considering the ever evolving field of communicative technology and the fear many adult learners (I was included on this list) still possess, I’m wondering how to create a sense of urgency so more are willing to try new technology such as voxer, tweeting, blogging, google classrooms, using zoom to support conferencing, and various other instruments to support student learning.