MTL 528: Blog #3
I was inspired to write this blog after I commented on a professional blog this week. I have been following Dan Rockwell on Twitter for a few months now. I stumbled across his name @Leadershipfreak and I quickly started following him. His tweets are usually one-liners about leadership that really make you think. I typically agree with his posts but there have been a few that have made me disagree. Some of the disagreement may be due to the fact that his blog and tweets are not necessarily related to teaching practices.
In a recent blog, Dan Rockwell wrote about helping reluctant team members find their gusto. He listed 5 steps for leaders to use to help team members go from self-doubt to believing. His first step involves listening- listening for the wants of the team member. Secondly, remind them of successes they have add or encourage them to think about them. Next, determine their commitments to this process. Then create a list of other resources or team members that can assist them. And, finally, decide on the next steps.
After I read this blog, I realized that I had seen very similar steps before. In the Professional Development course, we read an article called It’s About the Questions by Ronald Bearwald. Bearwald explains that effective coaching is not about answers but about the questions. There needs to be a commitment from both parties. Questions should foster growth and create valuable insights. Instead of giving answers, coaches provide resources and support. I found important overlap in both this article and Rockwell’s blog.
When I trained to be a mentor last year, the biggest focus in all our sessions was about listening and questioning. For a leader of any kind to be successful, they must have the ability to listen in order to lead. There’s a lot to be heard in the silence. For instance, I sometimes will sit back and just listen during PD. There’s not always value in what I have to say but there will be value in what I hear. A good leader needs to practice listening to the silence. A reluctant teacher may not say their fears or what they wish they could do. A coach/leader may need to infer. That’s where the right questions come into play. Asking a teacher what they want or, like Rockwell asked, “what happens if you do nothing?” These questions have power behind them and can begin the transformation of reluctant teachers to good and good teachers to better.
The goal is for reluctant teachers to find their gusto. If a teacher has self-doubt, then they are worried about something they may want to try. There’s a door there waiting to be opened. For instance, I fear using a Google Hangout with an “expert” (aka a stranger) in my classroom. Why do I fear this. I am worried it won’t work or be worthwhile. But when I read the question from Dan Rockwell’s blog “What happens if you do nothing?”, I think about that. My kids are missing out a potentially inspiring and transformational experience. That was the right question to ask me. Now I need resources and someone to help me with that. I’m ready for what’s next. More gusto!
IT’S ABOUT THE QUESTIONS
IT’S ABOUT THE QUESTIONS
Bearwald, R. (2011). It’s About the Questions. Educational Leadership, 69(2), 74-77.