Poor learner performance means there are serious systems issues at the school.
A new school year marks joy or agony for schools
Another school year has begun. Again, school heads and their leadership teams confront the question: how can they lead and manage their schools so that they have inspired, committed staff that will deliver superior classroom teaching.
Schools that are delivering excellent learner results, will obviously look at ways to raise their game even more so. However, there will be poor performing schools that may repeat history if they do not take stock of their own reality. Poor learner performance means there are serious systems issues at the school.
Leave the children out of the equation to get to the deep systemic issues at school.
Many school heads and their SMTs that are quietly questioning why their school performance is poor when compared with schools with similar contexts as theirs, are already starting on the wrong foot. Everybody at the school knows deep down what the real problems are, but they are afraid to acknowledge their own culpability.
If schools want to raise their learner performance, they have to start with themselves and not target the children. Children depend on their teachers to help them learn well. Children also depend on their principal , SMT, teachers and school friends to help them build healthy relationships. If the children are performing poorly, then who is really to blame?
We cannot use children to mask the systemic problems at schools. In many schools, the deprived children already come to school, steeped in domestic and social problems that they have to own and navigate. If these children are then being blamed for the poor school-wide performance that is not even their domain, schools are courting disaster. Such a mindset is dangerously harmful to the children and it affects the school staff's psyche. Such a victim mindset also prevents schools from addressing the real problems that are preventing them from doing well.
Schools can start being brutally honest and fix what is broken.
Use TED and Youtube videos as part of staff development
Change is hard and messy but if it the process is managed well by the school head and the SMT, the whole school will lift. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is that schools do not know how to start the process of making deep, meaningful changes that will impact on learner performance. There are so many useful TED and Youtube videos available that can be used as part of the school's staff development programme.
I have included two TED videos that I find very useful. Simon Sinek speaks about how great leaders inspire action and Margaret Heffernan shares her research on what drives high-performing teams.
Be inspired. Be the change you want to see - Mahatma Ghandi.
Are there any other ideas schools can use?