According to a recent Victorian study, many assistant principals aren’t prepared to take on the role of principal because of the associated work stress.
Responding to the survey, Dennis Yarrington, president of the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) was quoted saying that many states and territories were already looking at “innovative practices around principal development” to provide the skills and knowledge to be able to cope with increasing workloads.
I am a champion of innovation but what is the rationale for finding more efficient ways of fixing an old model of schooling and its increasing workloads?
As Canadian theorist George Siemens said you can’t expect theories from a largely industrial era to work in a digital one. The solution is to create new pedagogies, new understandings of knowledge, a new view of learning and I would add new roles for teachers and leaders.
If anything, the study highlights that as a profession we aren’t responding to or adapting quickly enough to the changing nature of today’s world. If we are still trying to up-skill our teachers and leaders to deal with 20th century challenges and workloads, then we are largely stuck in a time-warp.
I recently read in Time Magazine that the Ford motor company is on a mission to disrupt its own company by transforming itself from a traditional car manufacturer to a ‘mobility’ provider. Its CEO said they would be looking at new services such as ride-sharing (think Uber); inspired largely by Apple’s transformation twenty years ago from a technology company to a lifestyle one.
Some have referred to the industrial model of schooling as a Ford production line but what we can learn is that the future of schooling depends upon innovation and transformation. Like Ford, we need to disrupt ourselves because technology has already started disrupting the way students are communicating and learning in a hyper-connected world. The paradigm must move from learning as remembering to learning as thinking.
Roberto Verganti, Professor of Leadership and Innovation in Milan, wrote a great article on innovation in Harvard Business Review this month. He says in order ‘to find and exploit the opportunities made possible by big changes in technology or society, we need to explicitly question existing assumptions about what is good or valuable and what is not – and then, through reflection, come up with a new lens to examine innovation ideas.”
Unfortunately schooling struggles to look through a new lens and as the brilliant Mark Twain said “you can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”