One of the challenges facing educational leaders today is the ability to conceptualise how we go about reframing schooling and then articulating the key drivers for change.

Many educational leaders suffer from what I call ‘conceptual construct disorder’ (CCD).  This is a condition in which we define and develop responses to schooling by what has gone before and not on what is to come.

Edward de Bono classifies this mode of thinking as traditional – it is dominated by the left brain (logical and linear).  What educational leaders need to do is more right brain problem solving.  de Bono calls this design thinking – based on perception and possibility.

From New Thinking for the New Millennium:

We need more thinking.  Not more of the traditional judgment thinking but more design thinking.  More of ‘what-can-be’, not more of ‘what-is’.   We need not only to develop more and more technology but to design value concepts to deliver value from the technology.

Dan Pink refers to the same problem as “functional fixedness” that is, the inability to see another way to solve a problem

What we need is to design a new construct for 21st century schooling that is based on three new pillars;  diversity, enterprise and cloud.

Diversity acknowledges that every learner (both student and teacher) is unique. It accepts that everyone can learn and recognises the role of education in developing the full potential of individuals (ref: Maslow’s Theory of Society).  It challenges previous assumptions that learners are the problem rather than the pedagogy.  It is liberating and challenging.

Enterprise accepts that the world has changed and no one operates in isolation. For schools to embrace diversity, we need capacity to deliver on a large scale. It requires us to build partnerships with organisations who understand the new construct of schooling.  When everyone has access to the highways and networks, we will bridge the equity gap.

The cloud is the present and the gateway into the future.  The tools for sharing and collaborating will be accessible to everyone who has access to the internet. Public and private clouds will be the new ways of  both “doing and being” school.

If we expect students to be creative thinkers able to imagine their future, then what should we expect from educational leaders?  No less than design thinking!

6 thoughts on “CCD

  1. Greg,
    I’m struggling a bit with some parts of this post – perhaps I’m in this cloud. Recently I was asked by a parent why don’t I just copy what a school who has higher results on the My School website does if I want to get better results.

    Here I was thinking that change needed a theory of action – I’m using Elmore’s work on needing to do 3 things at the same time: set challenging tasks through increased teacher knowledge about their discipline, strengthened instructional capacity through coaching in classrooms and changing student engagement with the task and the teacher [read building relational trust] – influenced a lot by Hattie on measuring the effect size of our work – and Fullan’s work on change and implementation dips.

    We collaborate with others online and are open to new ways of reframing our work – George Otero’s work here on all learning is relational.

    Sometimes the complexies or design of change are lost on some as they search for easy bandaide fixes – all I know is that reframing the work of schools is complex and leaders need to be able to make creative connections, not be tempted to take the short cut however tempting and demonstrate the effects of the work.

    1. Mark I couldn’t agree with you more, very insightful. There are no quick fixes in this business. What your comments and the processes you outline in your context show is that to sustain change and build innovation you have to have a plan based on sound theory and practice.
      Elmore’s instructional core is the best I’ve found and reflects the best we know about good theory and practice. Leaders need to understand this and build a relevant “conceptual construct” from the central propositions of the theory and practice.
      It is complex, it is intellectually demanding and rigourous. For this reason we need to build cpllaborative networks to sustain and support each other.

    2. Too true. You quickly realize that there are no quick fixes or short cuts. People expect instantaneous sustainable solutions. They don’t exist, leave them for the charlatans!
      Stick to Elmore et al and build capacity and continuous learning

  2. I think in a recent interview on 2GB with Alan Jones on Thursday 7 April demonstrates that the Federal Shadow Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne might have been suffering from ‘CCD’ when he stated ‘that schools needed to focus on moving back to more traditional methods of teaching to improve achievements of students in the areas of literacy and numeracy in Australia’. I would like to think that creative thinking starts at the highest tier of government and then adoption of real possibilities at a local level might be better supported by the broader community as we try to reframe our schools to be more forward thinking now and into the future. The broadcasting of moving back to traditional frames of reference, will only keep students in a learning warp which limits their creativity and sharing of real knowledge, the alternative is rote learned facts with no real world application. I wonder what option students might prefer when they transition from school to university, TAFE or a trade?

    1. Shane in the face of complexity and challenge too often the resort is to seek solace in the past. This I think demeans the teaching profession since it merely reduces learning and teaching to formulaic processes centred around so called basic skills.
      Creative and innovative teachers stretch themselves and seek to learn how to do the business of schooling, one that is relevant to the students in our schools today.

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