In my previous post I focused on the view that the number one principle seems to be that effective schools have clearly articulated and shared beliefs about learning that are lived in every classroom.
This post proposes that the clearly articulated and shared beliefs about learning that are lived in every classroom need to be driven by a vision and mission which are deeply informed by new contexts for learning. In the previous post I stated that, in the end, it doesn't matter what the core beliefs about learning are but that it was vital that they were lived in every classroom. But, of course, it does matter.
If we start, as we should, with the question:
These new ways of learning which will better prepare our ākonga for the realities of their fast-changing world need to be central and visible in a compelling narrative of what the school stands for and the principles that guide it.
Charles Leadbetter in Learning on Purpose (Centre for Strategic Action) says, " A compelling narrative has to convey both purpose and possibility, it speaks to identity (who you are, where you've come from and what you stand for) and intent (where you are going, what you want to achieve)." He also talks of the importance of being able to tell a coherent story about yourself. "with an arc into the future."
He describes a process to follow to establish the compelling narrative:
In thinking about the new contexts for learning that should be driving our vision and mission and be central to our new compelling narrative I'd like to highlight Michael Fullan (quoting Hargreaves and O'Connor) in The Right Drivers For Whole System Success (Centre for Strategic Education) who identifies "collaboration embedded in the culture and life of the school," as a key factor in effective schools.
Another useful framework to assist with a new narrative for schools and learning is that described by the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (OECD) with their 7 Principles of Learning
As well, in one of their Horizon Reports NMC looking at future trends to develop deeper learning identifies project-based learning and inquiry learning as effective pedagogical approaches for deeper learning.
The Innovation Unit in the UK encourages schools wanting to be more effective to personalise learning, connect learning to the outside world, adopt a version of project-based learning, develop approaches that have students doing the teaching and inviting students into the learning design process.
Developing a compelling new narrative for your school, especially one that is fully informed by new contexts for learning (collaboration, connected, co-constructed), could be demanding work, but it is also rewarding and exciting work.
We know what makes for deep learning. The next step is to capture that in a compelling narrative for our school.
I'm happy to help.