Building Capacity

Michael Fullan, Claudia Cuttress and Ann Kilcher “8 Forces for Leaders of Change” (2005)

Driver 2 – Building Capacity (see below for Driver 1)”Building capacity involves developing new knowledge, skills and competencies; new resources (time, ideas, materials); and new shared identity and motivation to work together for greater change” (p55). The problem that we were faced  in developing the new cluster was that the RTLB Service had been formed in 2000, RTLBs had been attached to individual schools but not all had kept pace with the changes that had taken place over that time eg new curriculum, literacy, numeracy initiatives, inclusiveness, Ka Hikitia (strategy for improving Maori student achievement), Pasifika Education Plan (strategy for improving Pasifika student achievement) This had resulted in a lack of confidence by many of the Principals in the RTLB Service. We addressed this by putting in place compulsory professional development for 2 hours every Friday afternoon (a time that would least affect schools) The professional development was determined by the needs demonstrated in the Gap analysis taken at the beginning of the year (self review) and the needs that became apparent in the first appraisal interview in which an external consultant familiar with RTLB practice was used to interrogate the newly developed job description in regards to individual RTLB’s skills. The results were kept confidential but formed the basis of a collation of the findings from which we could develop a professional development plan.

Professional development around new resources was provided by peers. Some were in training and shared the new training resources with their colleagues, many of whom had trained 10 years previously. Those who went on conferences or workshops provided sessions. Project teams were also required to provide a workshop for their peers on new learnings that they had acquired with a demonstration of practice using these learnings. Powerpoints and readings were shared with others who were able to integrate these learnings into their own practice. We are developing a wiki for next year (2013) so that these resources can be kept in cyberspace as a useful resource for the whole team.

Our new identity was gradually developed throughout the year as people came together for professional development, met in their sub teams for administration and critical friend circles and worked on group activities such as building a vision for the cluster, developing protocols for working together,working with SWIS social workers to understand their role and how it integrated with the RTLB role, hosting a regional cluster meeting with a full powhiri or Maori welcome and having shared lunches and afternoon teas.

Fullan et al mention new technologies. I had come from a background of using technologies for elearning which is part of the NZ curriculum and this forms the basis for the elearning framework As far as computer literacy was concerned, RTLBs were on a continuum stretching from illiterate to confident. We spent the year developing skills in this area by digitising travel claims and requiring them to have a digital signature, using iphones and using Google docs for recording evidence  against the Registered Teacher Criteria for attestation and appraisal. It was a real struggle for many but forced them to work in teams to support each other. Novices became experts using a tuakana teina model As Fullan et al quite rightly say “Building group capacity is difficult because it involves working together in new ways” (p.55)


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