Darren Cox - Developing a School Culture of Professional Learning #futureschools

Darren Cox presenting at Future Schools
Well this is a topic close to my heart.

This guy is loud and fast - a good thing to note as I can be exactly the same and I'm speaking in two hours time. Must not get too shouty. Must not get too shouty. Must not get too shouty.

He began by asking us why we became a teacher. He shared his story, what made him become a teacher and thanked the people who supported him along the way. Cox started teaching at 18 and became an Assistant Principal at 25, working with a lady with a drinking problem. He paused. This was a leadership opportunity for him.

As a leader, do we have an aspiring vision, are we empowering the students and tapping into what motivates them? Everything rises and falls on Leadership. You cannot lead people you are righting off - good statement. You need to like and believe the people you are leading. We need to view our staff as talent with capabilities that we need to tap into.

Without vision people perish. You need a long range vision - it helps in times of short term failures. It keeps people inspired and motivated. People are called to the vision and have a shared sense of ownership. Vision is caught not taught. It needs to alive and infectious. Calling to that preferred future. Students, staff and parents need to know that this what we are all about. Vision helps motivate highly effective people.

Culture. We need to name and identify our culture. Cox spoke of their four cultural values. You need to name the cultural values and identify the behavioural indicators that go with it. Staff need to hold each other accountable. You don't need to be the boss to deal with this, the teacher next door can call them on it -it can be a conversation, not a confrontation (this guy gives good one liners!). His four cultural values: unity through respectful relationships, integrity and honesty of character, supportive collaborative relationships and continuous improvement of practice. Every staff interaction either builds or busts culture.

Once you shirk from one of your leadership challenges you are on a slippery slope. You cannot give up on challenging staff members. He then talked about their processes - regular observations, personal professional learning plans, coaching conversations - all good stuff.

He also spoke of the roles they have created in the school - short term project roles or year long roles, to provide greater leadership opportunities. The application process alone is a useful mechanism for gathering info about leadership aspirations across the staff.

Be familiar with your own strengths and weaknesses. Know your staff. Hold them accountable and give them freedom to fail.

As I said - great with the one liners.


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