2 x 2 Leadership Matrix

No claims to being able to explain the real mathematical import of a 2×2 matrix and its implications. There is, however,  work being done around 2×2 matrices for leadership. Even with a limited understanding of maths, the import of the 2×2 leadership matrix is worth exploring for its merit. A 2×2 matrix establishes the determinant of a matrix and is an inverted matrix which means it can reverse another function. It’s about balance and the relationships between the elements. Inverted matrixes can be used to decode or to help solve other mathematical functions. The argument for a 2×2 leadership matrix has been put forward by J.R. Bailey and it centres on the tension between good and great leadership and how that affects the power and impact of a leader . Leaders can be good or bad. They can be effective or not but to have vital, positive leadership the great leader needs to be held accountable by positive good leaders:

Great leadership is powerful, dominating, often overwhelming. It can sweep people along through sheer animation. Great leadership excites, energizes, and stimulates. It’s a rousing call, shocking complacency and inertia into action. It’s one of the most potent pulls in human history, and as such accounts for much of humanity’s progress, as well as its suffering. While it ignites collective action and stirs passion, its direction depends largely on those that wield its power. Great has no inherent moral compass, and thus its unpredictable potency can just as easily be put toward pugilistic and peaceful purposes.

Leadership is not a continuum. You can work on the skills but the outcomes are determined by the other elements of the matrix and how they operate. A very clear version of this is explained by Justin Bariso. The video about the 2×2 matrix on the Harvard Business Review site clarifies it further.

The key elements of leadership are discussed on the onlinelivingblog. The three elements which would impact positively or negatively on the inherent relationships within the 2×2 matrix would be:

1. your own motivation
2. transparency
3. responsiveness

aitsl has the downloadable leadership reflection tools so that you can work on:

locate your current leadership practice
identify strengths and areas for development
view your developmental pathway
access targeted leadership resources to assist your professional growth.

The aistl interactive leadership profiles also give you an opportunity to mix and match different aspects of leadership so that you can work to strengths and positives and notice the weaker spots you have . It looks at relational and systemic impact so that engagement with others is broadened and enhanced. That contributes to vital leadership and one that is in balance with the 2×2 matrix. The matrix gives you a way of looking at leadership. aitsl gives you the tools to do something about itso that you engage with others. Leadership is not in a vacuum nor is it on a continuum. It is in a matrix and as you work on your skills you have to be mindful that the impact of others with determine the sort of leader you are. The corollary is also true: the impact of leadership is the responsibility of others and so it is always important to develop the skills of others. It’s a  dynamic state.

Induction for Beginning Teachers

The AITSL channel on YouTube has a wealth of positive, informative, practical and relevant videos for teachers at any stage of their career. The channel provides support from real teachers, real members of the profession. The videos relate  and connect to the Professional Standards for Teachers. These are the best professional development resources Australian teachers have ever had because they are authentic and they represent Australian schools and Australian conditions. That is not to say they would not be helpful education resources for other countries. These videos are well made and well constructed. This one about Induction for Beginning Teachers came up on my Facebook feed and then in an email to me. AITSL knows how to connect. It has become good at it and this particular video is very good on its design elements so the materials are well considered from an UX point of view.  The video explains that good induction does have a positive impact on beginning teachers and that if they are in schools with a strong learning culture and are mentored, they will feel like they belong, will improve in their skills and will be strong, confident teachers. I’d actually like to know the real reasons people are leaving. It won’t necessarily be what they say. In my first 3 years of teaching I tried to leave the job. I hated it, but I was so bad at job interviews I got to teach for 42 years in a high school and I loved it. It’s the best job in the world. It is challenging, confusing, demanding, exhausting, exhilarating but 42 years down the track I have found out I really have made a difference. I really did make changes. I really could help students to achieve their dreams, their realities, their hopes and wishes. A teacher is there as a new life is developing. It’s a position of privilege. You can be the one who lets them shine, or change or learn so someone can be who they want to be. You can make them good at something, you can inspire them and you can influence. For good. Like a parent you have a pivotal role in an emerging life. The AITSL video explains induction will help teacher confidence, professional understanding and support developing a diverse range of skills. It will look at professional practices, professional identity and well being as well as orientation. Teachers coming into the profession today have access to local, national and global networks. They have online resources like the AITSL channel and the AITSL site. In the end a real person you identify with and feel safe with will get you to take hold and grow. You have to grow in order to blossom. Teaching is not static so one skill set will not do you at all. New teachers need to be forwards compatible and experienced teachers need to be both backwards and forwards compatible. The new ones will have a vision for the future from their perspective. They will have the tools to relate easily. The experienced teachers will decode that into practice and show the perspective to newer teachers. It’s linking chains and joining  dots. Twitter discussions, real life discussions and sites like AITSL all help to bolt it all together. Educators are all connected now and that makes it a much stronger profession which is far more able to help new teachers to establish their strengths more effectively. A strong learning culture comes from conversations and discussions. That has to be an expected and accepted part of any teacher development programmes. The woman who narrates this needs some acknowledgement. Her voice suits the clip and this positive , well articulated lady is someone we need to value and validate!

Tablets in the classroom

The Pedagogy Podcast

Image: The Pedagogy Podcast 

Teachers are not the media stereo type, vacuous nincompoops with 50s hairdos in front of perfectly groomed, smiling students with their hands up as they teach from the board often with their arms folded or a weirdo lean. Teachers, in my experience , are real people with a wide variety of exceptional talents and competencies who hone in on detail. They are like Patrick Trowse (@wklifebalance) whom I got to know in the #aussieED teacher chats on a Sunday night. Teachers are sociable and they want to learn. Over a year ago Patrick started his blog wklifebalance and I just pointed him in the right direction. The blog is valuable because he looks at the sorts of things which affect the work – life balance of teachers, how to stay healthy and how to manage a very demanding, rigorous job. Since then he has grown and developed himself into a podcaster and his podcasts are well made, interesting and about the sorts of things which teachers need to know and manage. You cannot replace experience. You cannot beat information from someone who has been through the process and you cannot do without podcasts! I load up a USB stick with all sorts of podcasts. They help me to keep my other language skills up, they teach me about health and ecology and they provide things to think about and practical ideas for education.I play them in my car as I commute. Patrick’s podcast on tablets in a classroom, where he speaks with a technician, is invaluable because it covers the issues The podcasts on The Pedagogy Podcasts are then reinforced with written information to check and consider. That is a teacher. A teacher knows you have to provide information in multiple modes so everyone can learn.

You can tick the boxes on the Professional Standards for Patrick as he develops himself, collaborates with others and shares his knowledge:

1.1 Lead colleagues to select and develop teaching strategies to improve student learning using knowledge of the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.3 Evaluate and revise school learning and teaching programs, using expert and community knowledge and experience, to meet the needs of students with diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
2.1 Lead initiatives within the school to evaluate and improve knowledge of content and teaching strategies and demonstrate exemplary teaching of subjects using effective, research-based learning and teaching programs.
2.2 Lead initiatives that utilise comprehensive content knowledge to improve the selection and sequencing of content into coherently organised learning and teaching programs.
2.6 Lead and support colleagues within the school to select and use ICT with effective teaching strategies to expand learning opportunities and content knowledge for all students.
3.1 Demonstrate exemplary practice and high expectations and lead colleagues to encourage students to pursue challenging goals in all aspects of their education.
3.3 Work with colleagues to review, modify and expand their repertoire of teaching strategies to enable students to use knowledge, skills, problem solving and critical and creative thinking.
3.4 Model exemplary skills and lead colleagues in selecting, creating and evaluating resources, including ICT, for application by teachers within or beyond the school.
4.2 Initiate strategies and lead colleagues to implement effective classroom management and promote student responsibility for learning.
4.5 Review or implement new policies and strategies to ensure the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.
6.3 Implement professional dialogue within the school or professional learning network(s) that is informed by feedback, analysis of current research and practice to improve the educational outcomes of students.
6.4 Advocate, participate in and lead strategies to support high-quality professional learning opportunities for colleagues that focus on improved student learning.
7.4 Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities.

In 2016 the Professional Standards are supporting and encouraging teachers to develop and share their skills. In 2016 a contemporary teacher can use technology to improve themselves, improve others and engage with the real world in a way which benefits others and impacts on student learning in an effective way. It is all based on sharing and collaboration. Creating the content, joining the dots and getting feedback.

Lesson planning in the 21st century

Lesson PlanningDesigners follow a reason centred or action centred models to develop their content. We are in the technological age and technology is part of our classrooms and so looking at teaching through a designer’s lens provides insight and clarity. Technology in a classroom means tablets, smart phones, interactive white boards, laptops, computer screens. Screens, images, placement of content, visual literacy. Design. Planning lessons ought to be centred around design principles and, as it turns out, they serve us well. The image I have put into this post is by no means definitive. It is a way to demonstrate how we already use reason centred and action centred lesson planning and as you look at it you will think of other things. There is a bit of tension between the two in education because some would like to abandon or down grade the reason centred approach and focus more on the action centred approach. As a designer you wouldn’t do that until you were really experienced and had mastered the foundations of design through theory and research. As teachers we will often be champing at the bit to try different things and technology can increase that feeling  because there are just so many great things you can do with it in a classroom. So approach needs to be tempered. We need some commonality, consistency and coherence across the curriculum. ACARA has done much to try to ensure that and to ensure we have content based on good practice and evidence. We are in a data driven world and we are able to access a lot of information about learning which was previously rather sparse. We can use that to our advantage. We can also use the benchmarking of NAPLAN, exams and national tests to inform our decision making as teachers. By contrast we can also take real advantage of anytime, anywhere learning and students, as well as attending lessons at school,  can be participating in online learning, community based learning, project based learning, industry based learning – in other words – lifelong learning. Aitsl encourages us to create lessons based on reason:

1.1 Select from a flexible and effective repertoire of teaching strategies to suit the physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students.
1.2 Expand understanding of how students learn using research and workplace knowledge.
1.5 Evaluate learning and teaching programs, using student assessment data, that are differentiated for the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.
1.6 Work with colleagues to access specialist knowledge, and relevant policy and legislation, to develop teaching programs that support the participation and learning of students with disability
2.3 Design and implement learning and teaching programs using knowledge of curriculum, assessment and reporting requirements.
2.6 Model high-level teaching knowledge and skills and work with colleagues to use current ICT to improve their teaching practice and make content relevant and meaningful.
3.6 Conduct regular reviews of teaching and learning programs using multiple sources of evidence including: student assessment data, curriculum documents, teaching practices and feedback from parents/ carers, students and colleagues.
6.2 Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.

The action-centred approach in aitsl comes largely through the encouragement to initiate ideas and collaborate with others.

6.3 Initiate and engage in professional discussions with colleagues in a range of forums to evaluate practice directed at improving professional knowledge and practice, and the educational outcomes of students.

6.4 Engage with colleagues to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher professional learning activities to address student learning needs.

7.4 Participate in professional and community networks and forums to broaden knowledge and improve practice.

aitsl asks us to inform our action centred approach through a reason based foundation so that we consult widely and adopt  professional insight into pedagogy.

Again it is coming back to the design and agile thinking principles:

Design thinking is : Understand, Explore, Prototype , Evaluate

Agile Thinking is about bearing the end user in mind, making incremental improvements and gaining feedback before you move on.

The reason centred approach and the action-centred approach are not in opposition in education. They operate together to stimulate growth and that positive mindset we keep talking about.

Design and Agile Thinking

agile - definitionAgile is the new buzz word. Agile thinking, agile management, but it comes from the IT industry and software development. It is about including the user to ensure good outcomes with design , delivery and functionality. The 10 key elements are here on AllAboutAgile. It comes back to what I have been saying: the tried and true internet way of doing things: Create content, share , gain feedback and then grow your ideas. It’s a constant improvement , growth circle. Spiral , maybe ,because you are always getting better.

Agile and Design thinking are at the heart of our Professional Teaching Standards but they haven’t been articulated in that way. They have been out since 2011 and perhaps need to be refreshed so that we can see clearly these standards are very much part of the 21st Century.

1.
Know students and how they learn
Refer to the Standard
at each career stage
2.
Know the content and how to teach it
3.
Plan for and implement effective teaching and learning
4.
Create and maintain supportive and safe learning environments
5.
Assess, provide feedback and report on student learning
6.
Engage in professional learning
7.
Engage professionally with colleagues, parents/carers
and the community

If you look at the video clip you can see how well our standards fit in with the elements of design and agile thinking. Knowing others and engaging with them is fundamental to design and agile thinking. Getting that feedback so you can improve delivery and experience is fundamental too.

These principles of design and agile thinking are articulated within the standards e.g.

1.3 Design and implement
teaching strategies that are
responsive to the learning
strengths and needs of
students from diverse
linguistic, cultural, religious and
socioeconomic backgrounds.

2.2 Lead initiatives that utilise
comprehensive content knowledge to
improve the selection and sequencing
of content into coherently organised
learning and teaching programs

3.2 Work with colleagues to plan, evaluate
and modify learning and teaching
programs to create productive learning
environments that engage all students

4.1 Demonstrate and lead by example
the development of productive and
inclusive learning environments
across the school by reviewing
inclusive strategies and exploring new
approaches to engage and support
all students

Design thinking is : Understand, Explore, Prototype , Evaluate

Agile Thinking is about bearing the end user in mind, making incremental improvements and gaining feedback before you move on.

These types of current and technological thinking are at the heart of our standards . We call them growth mindset and improvement model.

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