Skurup

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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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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