Continuing with my response to to Fullan, Cuttress & Kilcher in their article “8 Forces for Leaders of Change”, we look at Developing Cultures for Learning. Coming from an extensive background in Teacher Professional Development, I saw the development of a learning culture within the Cluster as paramount to the improvement of practice and to the development of the new cluster. Fullan et al consider that “successful change involves learning during implementation” and “one of the most powerful drivers of change involves learning from peers”.
We developed a team culture which would enable the 27 RTLBs to learn from different groupings of people. Fullan et al talk about “developing a set of strategies designed for people to learn from each other”. To this end we developed a strategy whereby RTLBs worked in project teams which were different from their administrative teams. The Project Teams were developed according to the needs of schools as indicated in the extensive needs analysis that was conducted in the first term of the establishment of this cluster in 2012. The responses from the Principals of the 28 schools indicated that the needs were in Literacy, Numeracy, Social Skills & Behaviour & Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. So teams were set up in these areas.
The purpose of the Project Teams was to:
- upskill RTLBs in a particular area
- give the team a goal which would involve them working together on a project that they could deliver as a team in schools (RTLBs had not previously used the team approach as they had each been working as an individual in an individual school)
- from working on the goal the team would produce a resource which they would present to the whole Cluster
- 3 of the 4 teams managed to achieve this goal.
- “Knowledge sharing & collective identity are powerful forces for positive change” (Fullan et al)
By 2013, this approach had been so well accepted by schools that we needed to call a temporary halt to team referrals as we were not able to meet the demand.