Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who are we listening to?

Schools are complex organizations.

It is hardly surprising that they tend to be dominated by numerous overlapping conversations. So if you want to eavesdrop, here are a number of conversations that we are having right now.

Listening to our students: we are talking with students about their learning; inviting them to rate this learning against commonly agreed standards.

Listening to our parents: we are leveraging the power of web 2.0 technology to listen-in to what people are saying about us. We are also spending a lot of time in more traditional face-to-face meetings with parents. We want to better understand the hopes, fears, expectations and concerns of families arriving from every corner of the world.

Listening to companies: we are preparing our students for life beyond school, recognizing that many of them will pursue careers in the world of business and enterprise. We cannot afford simply to assume that our programmes of learning are adequate in their preparation of these students; so we are talking to companies, listening to their present challenges and future predictions. Only in this way, it seems, do we stand any chance of equipping our students with the knowledge, skills and dispositions they will need in the future.

Listening to other schools: no school knows it all! Not surprisingly, then, by some distance, the most utilized forms of learning for school leaders are the well-established global networks of ‘schools talking to schools’. On any given day, schools leaders from across the globe are talking to one another, gathering best practice and finding new solutions on any number of practical or pedagogical issues. Social Media is undoubtedly making these conversations more effective and more immediate.

So what are the most important conversations you are having right now?

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