Pernilla Tillander

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
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in Tip
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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.

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Welcome 2018 – living an intentional digital and analog life

January 1, 2018
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Welcome 2018Welcome 2018, the year when…

  • I continue being gengle with myself – this is a perspective upon life that I will forever carry with me.
  • I live a more intentional life, in both digital and analog aspects – choosing what’s most fitting given the situation.
  • digital 24-hour sabbats will become a ritual in my everyday life. Every month? Weekly? Not sure, but two per month minimum.
  • my bedroom is a sheltered analog zone, without computers, iPads or phones, and if I need an alarm clock I will work it out with something other than my IPhone.
  • I will not buy a single online-course based on me watching video clips and reflect on my own. It. Does. Not. Work. For Me. I have learnt this lesson now.
  • I will, despite what I just wrote, restart and complete the “A year to clear what is holding you back” purchased during 2017.
  • I will be going – with good company – to an “analog” writers course with Bob Hansson at Mundekulla.
  • Pernilla Tillander and I will continue to work together – grow, learn and have loads of fun doing it – in Skurup for the ESF-project Include & Meet.
  • I will read 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one per week: books I already own. Each Sunday I will do a reflection on either blog on the book of the week.
  • above and beyond the 52 “books I already own” I will set my #Goodreadsreadingchallenge for 2018 to one hundred books.
  • I will let my Upholder-tendency have free reins, which you can see in the above, which for me is far from a punishment, rather, quite the challenge, something that tickles and entices me!
  • I aim at being a ChattyMeals-hostess and/or attend others ChattyMeals at least on a monthly basis. LÄNKA
  • riding my bike and taking walks, as well as my daily Seven and my Headspace-meditations, will continue to be my daily companions in life.
  • my economic husbandry gains clarity – in all senses. What this really means is something still remaining for me to defins, so I know what it truly is I want to achieve.
  • my eldest will graduate. Yikes. How time flies. This deserves a celebration!
  • I – perhaps more important than anything else – will enjoy life, explore, discover, expand, and in all manners possible allow myself to have as much fun as I can!

Intentions of previous years have come to me more in the form of a single word, more or less. This year is different, but if I summarize all of the above, this is where I end up: Living an intentional digital and analog life. That will be the intention for 2018.

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Good bye 2017

December 31, 2017
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Good bye 2017, the year when…

  • I had Wholeheartedness as my intention, something I’ve blogged about on a monthly basis since.
  • my company Respondi AB turned ten years old. Imagine that!
  • me and Pernilla Tillander started to work together for the ESF-project Include & Meet in Skurup, something which has been among the most fun and rewarding things I’ve done during my ten years as an entrepreneur. We will continue to work together in 2018 in Skurup and I greatly look forward to it!
  • I did two “current state” analyses that made quite the impact, especially in me.
  • my longest running assignment ended, after nearly five years.
  • thoughts on my future business enterprise are starting to become clear.
  • I rediscovered my fascination with husbandry, also in an economic fashion.
  • music played a big part:
    • the musical highlight above all else throughout my life is performing Stabat Mater by Jens Eriksson. The first performance took place already during Easter 2016, but during 2017 Stabat Mater was released on Spotify, and the church choir from Södra Sallerup performed Stabat Mater no less than three times this year. One performance took place in Salzburg where the choir went for a trip in september. Stabat Mater is on repeat at home, and I absolutely love this piece of music!
    • my musical highlight number two took place in twofold this year as well: we recorded an album in the beginning of the year, and this was released (both as an actual CD and on Spotify) at the end of the year, Vi är i advent. Another abum running on repeat in my headphones.

HERO in Edinburgh

  • I turned fortyfive and discovered the thrill of hosting a potluck party – what a smashing idea!
  • sad farewell’s were mixed with the joy of new budding lives.
  • acting legal guardian for unaccompanied minor refugees is an ongoing assignment, a roller coaster of joy, frustration and pride; for my legal guardians as well as others.
  • we decided to stay together but live apart… only to hand in our divorce application a few months later.
  • far later I finally removed my wedding ring, leaving me with the feeling of a phantom ring on my ring finger.
  • I participated in the #blogg100 challenge for the forth time, after refraining for a year. For the first time I trid blogging onehundred days in a row based on a set theme (by myself) – mixing Swedish and English blog posts – which definitely was to my liking.

GoodReads

  • I have read, read, and read some more. 73 books and 22889 pages according to GoodReads. But then I also proof read a book not yet published, so in total I read 74 books and 23014 pages during 2017. My #Goodreadsreadingchallenge for 2017 was fifty books, so I reached my goal by far.
  • The Gifted book club saw the light of day in conjunction with my birthday, and during the fall we’ve read two books. We are starting 2018 with Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, following it up with Foe by J.M. Coetzee and I am thrilled to see what other books we will be reading after that.
  • for the first time ever have I technically proof read a book (and buy what a book. Only available in Swedish, but if you know Swedish, most definitely pick up, and read, a copy of Sigrid sover på soffan!)
  • ChattyMeals made an entrance into my life, an aquaintance I will definitely continue to entertain during 2018.
  • I understood my relationship to inner and outer expectations, this concept that I’ve been reflecting upon for years now, and now have an even greater understanding of, being the Upholder I am.
  • I ran my first ever race!
  • I tried taking a digital sabbat, which definitely wet my appetite, to the extent that it actually served as the basis for my intention for 2018.
  • my firstborn came of age and my lastborn turned teenager and started junior high school. Oh how time flies!
  • for the first time in forever we stayed in Sweden during the summer holidays (o the chagrin of the kids).
  • all four Roths are finishing off the year participating in the largest New Years Eve-street party in the world, the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh.

Roths in Edinburgh

And with that, I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

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Being responsible for e v e r y t h i n g

October 20, 2017
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BoldomaticPost_Nothing-at-Facebook-is-someon”One of my favorite posters of our office walls reads, ’Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.’ In a company-wide meeting, I asked everyone facing challenges in working with a colleague – which of course is everyone – to speak more honestly to that person. I set a goal that we would all have at least one hard conversation each month.”

Synchronicity is funny – I read this part from Option B after having said precisely these words together with Pernilla Tillander at one in a series of multiple workshops we are holding for att pre-school staff in a small commune in the south of Sweden. Well. No, not verbatim, as we aren’t addressing the staff at Facebook, of course, but the gist of our question was the same: Are you responsible for everything that happens at work?

The first reaction of most people is to say No. A few get confused, and basically no one steps up and says Yes.

– What do you mean, responsible for everything that happens at work? That’s absurd!

– Of course it’s not on me, I can’t take responsibility for everyone at work and their actions!

– Well, yes, but no, I mean, I am responsible for me, but…

– No, the boss has more responsibility than I do. 

The magic in this, which Sheryl has also realized, is that when people step in and shoulder responsibility for whatever happens, other people step up as well to share the responsibility. And the opposite is equally true, which I am sure you all recognize from personal experience: When people blame other people, no one steps in to take responsibility; No one actually suggests possible ways out of a muddle; Everyone is busy casting blame and attempts at all cost to avoid having the finger ultimately pointing at oneself.

Now. The point to this reasoning is not to get into a philosophical argument about the impossibility of actually being responsible for e v e r y t h i n g. I mean, I get that, you get that, everyone get’s that. But still – try it. Try stepping in to shoulder responsibility for e v e r y t h i n g and see what happens. How does it feel inside yourself when you do? What’s the reaction of those around you? Do they blame you, start to shout and scream at you, taking the opportunity to throw some more dirt upon your willing shoulders? Or do they join forces with you, sharing the load, taking part in being responsible? Does it make you feel small as a person, or large? What do your colleagues say – do they respond to you as if you are belittling yourself, or them? Or the opposite – when you step in and show yourself as the big person you are, do they show up as their better selves?

Try it out – see what happens!

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”Option B – Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy” by Sheryl Sandberg.

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Daring greatly, with my guitar on my lap

September 21, 2017
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A year ago I started to take guitar lessons, every other Monday for forty minutes. That was about all the playing I did, despite having a clear image in my mind of me sitting with friends around a log fire on the beach, playing the guitar and singing. It looks so alluring. As a child I played the piano, and here’s a given: you do not bring the piano down to the beach to sit around a fire, playing and singing.

This summer I decided to play twenty minutes a day, for sixty days, and quickly got results. So when I heard Mandy Harvey sing Try on America’s Got Talent, I googled the chords and lyric and printed them out. I figured out a simple strumming pattern and started to practice.

On my own – no problem. I sing and play with all I’ve got. But as soon as my daily twenty minutes had to take place with people around (my closest family), either I got extremely self-conscius – having me try to play and sing, as opposed to actually playing and singing – or I simply skipped practice altogether.

But when we had a temporary house guest for a week, staying in the living room on account of not having a spare bedroom to offer him, I decided to stop with the “trying”. So I sat down, guitar in hand, and started to play and sing. For real. (The response I got was a “You’re not all bad at that!”.)

That same week we had my youngest niece staying for a night, and when the three youngsters in the house were busy watching YouTube, playing games and cuddle with Pop the cat, I pulled out my guitar and did my daily twenty. When I put the guitar away, my niece turned to me and said Oh, that was so nice!, giving me a bit of good “sitting around the fire on the beach”-vibes for the future.

And then I figured it out: The ultimate challenge for me! I set a reminder on my phone to bring the guitar on Friday morning. So when Pernilla Tillander, my partner-in-crime for a specific assignment for all the pre-school staff in a small Swedish commune, came to pick me up Friday morning, I opened the back door and tossed my guitar in the back. Pernilla turned around, said A guitar? How exciting! and I told her my plan:

We talk a lot about courage, being role models, and daring to do even though you might not be a fully fledged professional, so I figured I’d sing and play the song Try, what do you think about that?

Pernilla being Pernilla, was all for it, of course!

So that Friday I sat, guitar on my lap, and sang, morning and afternoon, for forty and fifty people respectively, after telling them this story. And you know what? I didn’t die, not even once. And the sky didn’t come crashing down. And none of it happened on the following Monday either, when I did a repeat performance for the last group of a total of seventy people!

Singing Try

If I messed up noow and again, both with my singing and my playing?
You bet, several times. That’s on the house!
If I felt less and less nervous each time?
You bet, the third time around my voice carried much better than the first two times.
If I’ve sung and played the guitar in front of pretty large groups?
You bet. Amazing!
If I would consider doing it again?
You bet!

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