A learning organization or community of learners is defined by everyone in the organization learning and their commitment to learning. Leadership is the essence of the learning organization and is certainly not confined to building or district level administration. On the contrary, leadership in the learning organization is shared. It empowers teacher leaders who are aided by the research and development, resources and support that the administration can provide.
My commitment to blogging at least three times a week stems from my hopes in nurturing a learning organization. As a district leader, it is not only my hope, but my obligation to foster shared leadership. This is not always an easy task. As I reflect, I often think about the financial challenges that my district and department faces in terms of staffing and obtaining resources that teachers would love to have in their classrooms. Another challenge though, perhaps the most daunting, is launching innovation that is affordable and sustainable. Innovation that considers the present design and culture, or the status quo, and creating the future innovative learning organization, while we work together in the present.
Who is learning? Hopefully, it is our students. But in a learning organization, we must all learn. Educators must learn everyday how to lead, how to create and innovate, and how to provide students with the best education despite the challenges that we face everyday. Leaders in learning organizations should have learned that top-down initiatives are rarely sustainable. True change originates from and within classrooms, from students and teachers themselves. This is the learning that is required not only for lasting change, but to provide the community of learners with the power, the tools and the inspiration to follow their passions and interests to design environments that embody authentic personalized learning, meet the needs of diverse student and teacher needs through project-based learning and universal design for learning.
John Dewey aptly stated, “If we teach today’s students like we did yesterday, we rob them of tomorrow.” I would add, if education leaders do not prioritize learning organizations, rather that organizations of learning, we rob teachers of their ability to lead and learn and to model it for the students that they teach and learn from as well. We all must continue to learn, grow, adapt and change. We do it collaboratively and with a growth-mindset.
Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow”