CoachWalk

Professional capital – Transforming teaching in every school (book 2 of 12)

Professional capital – Transforming teaching in every school (book 2 of 12)

February 24, 2019
/ /
in Tip
/

Professional capital – Transforming teaching in every school.
A book by Alan Hargreaves and Michael Fullan.

“In the end, nobody can give you professional capital. It’s an investment. […] Nobody’s going to be prepared to invest in anyone unless they are willing to invest in themselves. This is by far the best place, and indeed the first place, to begin.” 

I remember a coachwalk I had with a client, who got a massive insight into exactly this: how he had mistakenly believed that it was the sole responsibility of his employer to invest in him, rather than something he also had responsibility for. By (also) investing in himself, he would be increasing his own human and professional capital, serving both himself as well as his current, and future, employers.

“Working with big ballroom audiences, or conducting training workshops outside of school or using one-to-one coaching to enforce compliance with imposed programs, has little deep or long-standing impact on teachers’ daily practice.
What is crucial is what happens between workshops. Who tries things out? Who supports you? Who gives you feedback? Who picks you up when you make a mistake the first time? Who else can you learn from? How can you take responsibility for change together? The key variable that determines success in any innovation, in other words, is the degree of social capital in the culture of your own school Learning is the work, and social capital is the fuel. If social capital is weak, everything else is destined for failure.”

As I have been working with Pernilla Tillander with all pre-school as well as all school-staff in the commune of Skurup in the south of Sweden during 2017-2018, I am totally onboard here. We have done four half-day workshops with all staff (in groups of maximum 70 people), spread out over two semesters, with process leaders following up b e t w e e n the modules – and those follow-up sessions have been absolutely critical for the success of the personal group development we were hired to provide! Because the truth is this: we can provide an opportunity for personal group development through leadership training. But we, me and Pernilla, are not the ones who makes it happen for real, that is up to the participants. We do our bit of the work, of course, but the rest is up to the participants. They have to do the work: “The best place to begin is always with yourself. Your own experiences, frustrations, ideals, and sense of self are the crucial starting points.”

Now, this is a book with a lot of good stuff. It’s well laid out and presented, and ends with clear and concise suggestions for developing roadmaps ahead, on three levels, for teachers; for school and district administrators; and for state, government and union/federation leaders. And I definitely think there’s a lot of value to be had, in making the suggested changes to ensure a growing and continuously evolving professional capital. (And honestly, they do target teaching and education, but there’s plenty of value for any person, organization or workplace interested in culture and development through learning better, more and continuously.)

Hargreaves and Fullan push all the way to the edges of the box I call the school system. But boy would I like to see them push beyond those edges! Now that would be something extraordinary, that’s for sure. Because although they are great at prodding sore spots, identifying areas that must be transformed…. they are still locked within the paradigm of schools, in the way schools are, and have been, since they were first created. They do make a pass at the unit of the lesson but fail to take their own advice, never fully making a pass at the unit of schools.

“The unit of the lesson that Hattie adopts as the standard currency of teaching and schooling is more than a century old. Yet, lessons have never been the only unit of teaching and they will likely become less and less the unit of teaching in the future. […] If we are saying that it is outdated to base teachers’ contracts on class sizes, using the class as the unit of calculation, then we have to acknowledge that among administrators and researchers, the lesson may be and should be becoming equally outdated as the unit of teaching and learning too.”

Don’t you agree with me that it would be very interesting to see them take this critical viewpoint up a notch or two, encompassing the entire system of schooling and education?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

Read More

Advent Calendar 5 – Find in ME?

December 5, 2018
/ / /

When I stopped banging myself over the head on the inside, my life shifted. Gradually starting to see that the harsh voices on the inside weren’t necessarily the Truth, and learning to speak more gently to myself, made a world of difference.

It also enabled me meeting myself, as well as you. Because I was no longer afraid to meet myself, neither the light nor the darkness, it gave me the opening to truly meet people. And I am quite adamant that these meetings take place both with me meeting me as well as others. They are both significant – as I can mirror myself in all kinds of meetings.

I talked about this in my Facebook-live of the day, and a few hours later, Vanessa of Crafting Connections posted this image.

What might I find in ME when I meet YOU?

Synchronicity. I never stop being amazed at the synchronicities of the world around me – and the more aware I get of myself and my surroundings, the more synchronicity I spot.

This question is one I bring with me, but softly, like music playing in the background. Not in-your-face, but off in the distance. When I do my CoachWalks I have this question with me as well. Never as a goal in and of itself, because my CoachWalks are for my clients, so what I might find in me when meeting them is not something I have as a focal point – but it’s definitely something I am open to, being curious with an openness for what wants to happen. This openness I find benefits my clients as well, as it means I can pick up on minute shifts, both within me and them, that might very well be just what wants to be discovered in the moment.

To think… none of this might have occurred to me had I not stopped knocking myself over the head with a shovel. 


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 5 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

Read More

Wanderlust (book 24 of 26)

December 2, 2018
/ /
in Tip
/

Wanderlust. Rebecca Solnit. Subtitled A History of Walking.

“[…] each walk moves through space like a thread through fabric, sewing it together into a continuous experience – so unlike the way air travel chops up time and space and even cars and trains do. This continuity is one of the things I think we lost in the industrial age – but we can choose to reclaim it, again and again, and some do. The fields and streets are waiting.”

The most beautiful of languages she has, Rebecca Solnit. There are passages in this book where I am enraptured, of the sheer beauty of the words strung together with intelligence and tender loving care, all at once. The first two pages of chapter three Rising and Falling: The Theorists of Bipedalism is one of those places. I marked it in my copy of the book, with the words What a magnificently beautiful passage!

“[..] the sense of place that can only be gained on foot. Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors – home, car, gym, office, shops – disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”

Rebecca Solnit manages to write an expose on walking that takes it far wider than my imagination could have conceived. Making me realize just how important walking is, how it has roots in our hominid-background, and how it is, perhaps, on the verge of extinction…

“When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for you when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind, and walking travels both terrains.”

The passages I bring forth here are all linked together; all relate to the sense of place and space of walking that Solnit circles back to, over and over again in Wanderlust. I could as easily have chosen the topic of revolutions or perhaps of citizenship, and how walking has played an integral part in shaping the history of humankind. Or perhaps the apparent gendered bias making public spaces available for walking by men, and not women, for millennia. But I didn’t. As I write these reflections, I flick though the pages of the books I’m to write about, and as my eye falls on my pencil-scribbles in the margins, what tugs at me shapes my writing. And thus, this is what wants to be reflected upon.

“But there are three prerequisites to going out into the world to walk for pleasure. One must have free time, a place to go, and a body unhindered by illness or social restraints.”

I go for walks. By my very lonesome. Revelling in the different vistas my neighboring recreational area of Bulltofta grant me as seasons pass.

I take walk n talks as often as I can. Whenever someone asks me to join them for a cup of tea (usually they suggest coffee which I don’t even drink…), I almost always suggest a walk n talk instead.

And. I do CoachWalks, talking my clients walking with me, often along the paths of Bulltofta where I spend so much of my time. I usually look up, throw my arms to the side and exult Welcome to my office! When in physical motion, it’s hard – not to say impossible – for the mind to be immobile. So walking is one of my secret tools in my coaching tool box.

“Walking has been one of the constellations in the starry sky of human culture, a constellation whose three stars are the body, the imagination, and the wide-open world, and though all three exist independently, it is the lines drawn between them – drawn by the act of walking for cultural purposes – that makes them a constellation. Constellations are not natural phenomena but cultural impositions; the lines drawn between stars are like paths worn by the imagination of those who have gone before. This constellation called walking has a history., the history trod out by all those poets and philosophers and insurrectionairies, by jaywalkers, streetwalkers, pilgrims, tourists, hikers, mountaineers, but whether it has a future depends on whether those connecting paths are travelled still.”

Wanderlust. And important book.
Pick it up. Read it. And never look upon Walking quite the same way ever again.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

Read More

Beyond the bend?

May 10, 2016
/ / /

Summer has arrived in Sweden, and quite abruptly at that. Feels like it was winter, more or less, way too long, and then all of a sudden the weather drastically shifted and it’s now warm enough to go with bare legs and feet, soaking in the sun and warmth. Had been inside for too much of the day, so having a scheduled CoachWalk with a client to look forward to this evening made me very happy. Really enjoyed the evening walk in the park.

CoachWalks are my favorite way of coaching, I must admit. Out strolling, sauntering slowly along the gravel paths, passing trees in bloom, nettles rising above the old stems of last year, birds chirping merrily and the sun warm in the face. Something happens then. Or… more like it: something can happen then, something quite out of the ordinary. Last CoachWalk we took, all of a sudden we were laying down in the grass to look at an imaginary projection of a problem, getting beneath it, looking at it from below. Quite literally… the problem vanished, dissolved into thin air, as it were.

beyond the bend

Never really knowing what might lie beyond the bend, we walk on, sometimes in engaged conversation, now and again in comfortable silence. Once in a while we stop and talk, intensely, waving arms around, picking up a stick and drawing in the gravel to make a point, clarify, illustrate. With a curious and gentle disposition, a lot can be discovered, and better yet, uncovered, when you put one step in front of the other, and walk on. Because you never really know, what might lie beyond the bend, do you?

Feel free to get in touch with me, if you are ever in the neighborhood of Malmö and would like to experience a CoachWalk. If you’re not geographically close, a CoachTalk works just as fine! 

Read More