Byron's Babbles

Leading Learning

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Charlotte Danielson Speaking to NASBE Members on April 4, 2016

This past week I had the opportunity to take another deep dive into the new Every Student Succeeds Act during the Legislative Conference of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). It was also great to not only listen to Charlotte Danielson of the Danielson Group, but I was also able to have a lengthy personal conversation with her about innovation in education, teacher evaluation, and teacher leadership. The thing that impresses me most about Charlotte is that she is always thinking continual improvement and innovation. She made a few comments that are appropriate as we consider leading learning. Let’s face it, students learning is the ultimate goal we need to be achieving in education. The phrases that Charlotte said that resonated with me were, “Learning is done by the learner,” and “Teaching is cognitive work.” As we lead learning I believe it is very important that we keep these two thoughts in mind.

The goal must be to shift the thinking on the student and how the instructional environment supports student thinking. Teaching is a constant work of improvement – a career that involves learning and rethinking our approaches daily. It’s a very interesting concept if we reconsider that we’re always developing our practice. If we are to be successful we must start with the student as the focus and lead the learning from there. The student must always be at the center – this is always critical to success in leading learning.futures-cover

In my studies at Harvard University around leading learning, I have had some key takeaways that came from the idea that, “Learning might be best described as the process by which information becomes knowledge” (City, Elmore, & Lynch, 2012, Chapter 6, p. 153). This when put together with the thought that, “Knowledge…is information plus meaning, where meaning is acquired through experience or education” (Chapter 6, p. 153) frames a fertile environment for innovation in education. It allows us to take education outside the walls of the traditional schoolhouse. It allows school to be any modality where some combination of information, knowledge, and learning flows from some portal to the learner (City et al, Chapter 6, 2012). As a leader of learning I want to continue to use the lens of education as learning instead of school as a physical place of learning. (City et al, Chapter 6, 2012). These key takeaways came from studies of the book The Futures of School Reform (2012) edited by Mehta, Schwartz, and Hess.

As a state board of education member and someone that works in education leadership and policy development, I want to continue to make sure and educate fellow policymakers on the learning core and make sure we are leading learning and not just leading school as usual. I want to continue to improve leading learning from a policy side to help others understand how to make policy meet reality.

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