One of the most important things that we should do as leaders is challenge the status quo. What questions do you use to do this when working with your teams?
We have some wonderful opportunities at our new school. We opened in February 2016 with the exciting and somewhat daunting task of bringing two very different schools together. We have been (and still are) working to create a new St Francis culture and ethos. We are also developing our St Francis way of delivering the curriculum in our fabulous new Innovative Learning spaces.
One of the ways we as a Senior Leadership Team have facilitated this change, has been to provide regular release time to teams. This has meant that our teams have had the head space during the school day for half a day, two out of every three weeks, to have professional discussions. These discussions are around their practice in collaboration and their practice in problem based learning. We realised early on that this thinking and discussion time needed in part to be facilitated. This is because it was hard for our new team leaders to know what their team's next steps were. The team leaders were just as new to the collaboration and PBL concepts as their teams. They didn't know what they didn't know.
We have developed a system whereby the SLT facilitates discussion; provides readings, asks questions, seeks clarity, gives feedback and celebrates work done or new thinking shared since the last release time. This usually takes up about 45 mins of the three hour release. The teams then go ahead and act on their new thinking or critique their systems to make improvements.
"Asking, Listening, analysing, reflecting, and learning are all essential to your role as a leader." #LeadLAP. (Pg 50)
We try to be very sensitive to the work that has already been done when we have our "collaboration meetings" and always stress the fact that we are all learning together and that when we ask questions we are not criticising but working together collaboratively to make our collaboration and PBL even better.