Is it not common sense? School culture and Fullan’s Six Secrets of Change

This summer I found myself reading (or rather, listening to the audiobook) Fullan’s Six Secrets of Change. As I was mowing the lawn, or driving, or walking the dog to this book, my mind kept making connections to the change in our school culture over the past year as we moved into 1:1 BYOD Blended Learning (every Grade 9 brings a laptop or tablet to school).

The shift in culture in the school has many factors most certainly. However, if you look at the shift in professional development over the past year you can see connections to each of Fullan’s secrets. I think this is just common sense?


Love your employees

    • about empowering, not running over or beating into submission
    • investing in teachers (our school was saturated with teacher-directed learning and release time for that)
    • believe in teachers, set high standards
    • empathy for the complication of change by all coaches, resource teachers and administrators

Connect Peers With Purpose

    • all groups looking at assessment and feedback through BYOD to support creativity, communication, critical thinking, collaboration
    • focus might be different for different groups, but all working on common purpose, for example:
      • TLLP team (interdisciplinary)
      • department teams (subject-specific)
      • SSI (math)

Capacity Building Prevails

    • creating the environment where it is ok to try new things, fail, and improve
    • tinkering becomes the norm
    • asking for an “extra set of hands” becomes the norm
    • still work to do, but we are certainly improving the culture – teachers asking others to come in while they “tried something new” to help troubleshoot and problem solve
    • non-judgemental

Learning is the Work

    • not focused on the digital tools, but focused on developing the attitude, skills and beliefs to become a life-long learner in the 21st Century
    • proven by our TLLP survey (teachers self-identified their biggest growth being in “modelling 21st century learning”)

Transparency Rules

    • survey pre and post, based on ISTE standards for teachers (teachers said that their biggest need was creating assessments and so that is where we focus next)

Systems Learn

    • can’t revolve everything around individual leaders, need to focus on the school as a whole
    • focus on developing many leaders
    • sharing encouraged at every staff mtg,
    • focus on distributed leadership, pairing teachers up to other teachers to share
    • my job as TLLP leader, became more about connecting others than trying to help everyone myself
    • humility and openness to change. we changed course many times

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