Sunday, June 22, 2008

Effective Practices for Leading Middle Schools - No Matter What Your Job

by Martha Thibodeau

Chris Toy, former principal in Freeport and now an Educational Consultant, presented at the Middle Level Education Institute on June 22nd. His topic - the title of this post - intrigued me since I don't "belong" to any one school or faculty, but I can and do have an impact in the schools that I serve.

We did an activity that used synectics. Hundreds of pictures were strewn about the floor and we had to choose one that spoke to us in general and about leadership. We then got into a triad and shared our thoughts, and had a chance to speak about every picture. Then we had to look at all three pictures and come up with some thoughts on how they were alike or how they were different, or how they had a common thread. We then had to look at how this would transfer into our work lives with a partner. The last part was reflection:

What did I learn or realize again about good leadership during this activity?

I realized that the prompts that were given have to be open-ended, engaging, and provide an opportunity for learning for the participants. I realized again that choice is a great motivator. When I selected that picture, I had some ownership over making it make sense to my colleagues.

Here are some excerpts from others in the group: Good leadership has many facets. Good leadership means different things to different people. The path will be difficult at times, but the building momentum will be worth it in the end. As a leader you can't do everything your self. Allow choices to make a lesson your own. There are different types of leaders. Great leaders don't remain stagnant they are willing to change as needed.

Chris did a great job of modeling facilitation techniques.

1 comment:

Jim Burke said...

Sounds to be a fascinating activity, Martha. I'm curious as to what the images were. Care to re-create it for us one of these days?