#ACEL Day One | Viviane Robinson - Virtuous Educational Leadership: Doing the Right Work, the Right Way

Why focus on leadership character?
  1. Leaders are powerful. Your decisions affect the learning of 100s of students.
  2. Leaders need the ability to discern what is right.
  3. Leaders need to be a force for good in contexts that tempt them to be otherwise.

Values are words, and virtues are actions.

What is the right work? The right work is the dedicated pursuit of proper purposes of education.

Three proper purposes
  1. Preparation of children and young people through mastery of the competencies they require to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
  2. Socialisation into particular cultures and communities.
  3. The development of autonomy by enabling children and young persons to exercise choice without surrendering the will of others or uncontrolled inner drives.
Leading for deep learning

The right leadership work
  • Purpose: Ensure Deep Learning
  • Learners learn the science of deep learning and of teaching for deep learning
  • Derive broad descriptions of the right leadership work

Overcoming obstacles or problems that get in the way of achieving goals.

Three aspects of a leader’s works
  1. Maintaining business as usual
  2. Dealing with crises and surprises
  3. Solving the problems that prevent improvement
What is the problem?

The Five Stages of Collaborative Complex Problem-Solving (CCPS)
  1. Problem identification
  2. Problem causes
  3. Solutions requirements
  4. Problem solutions
  5. Problem outcomes

The right way requires virtues:
  • Leadership virtues
  • Problem-solving virtues
  • Interpersonal virtues
Worthy leadership motivation
  • Strong commitment to proper purposes of education
  • The desire for collective success in achieving the purposes
  • Cares deeply about students' well-being and success
Problem-solving virtues
  • Strategic
    • Establishes clear priorities
    • Perseveres
    • Connects micro and macro
  • Analytic
    • Truth seekers rather than truth claimers
    • High accuracy low defence motivation
    • Skilled at casual inquiry
  • Imaginative
    • Integrates rather than polarises
    • Resists trade-offs and compromises
    • Comfortable with initial uncertainty and complexity
Leaders’ beliefs determine the work
(assumptions can be damaging)

Interpersonal virtues
  • Integrity
    • Tells the truth
    • Walks their worthy talk
    • Principled decision making
  • Respect
    • Open to others' influence
    • Listens to contrary views
    • Accords appropriate autonomy
  • Courage
    • Doing what is right despite fear of others' reactions
    • Virtuous and non-virtuous courage
  • Empathy
    • Accurate understanding of other’s experience
    • Avoiding pre-judgements
    • Avoidance of excessive empathy
The right way requires virtues - a Taxonomy of Virtues for Educational Leaders
  • Leadership virtues
    • Worthy leadership motivation
  • Problem-solving virtues
    • Strategic
    • Analytic
    • Imaginative
  • Interpersonal virtues
    • Integrity
    • Respect
    • Courage
    • Empathy
Learning to be more virtuous
  • Reading
  • Reframe your thoughts
  • Rehearse your speech
  • Collect evidence of your practice
  • Hold high standards
  • Reflect on your successes and failures.


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