I believe that administrators must create a school environment where kids feel safe and free to learn. I also believe that teachers must feel safe and free to teach. This means it is an administrator’s job to create a positive learning environment for both teachers and students. This should include student engagement and high-quality instruction.
How do you do this you say? First, you must think creatively. In his book Out of Our Minds, Ken Robinson states, “that everyone has huge creative capacities as a natural result of being a human being. The challenge is to develop them. A culture of creativity has to involve everybody, not just a few select few (pg. 3).” By thinking outside of the box, you can help solve the challenges now “to transform education systems into something better suited to the real needs of the 21st century (pg 15).” This shift in education has to have a “radically different view of human intelligence and creativity (pg 15).” This means moving out of the old world view which can definitely feel comfortable.
Next, you must instill the core values of student engagement and high-quality instruction. This ultimately means accountability that falls upon the administrator. We must coach our teachers to utilize quality instruction strategies that promote student engagement. But without proper training and education, it is unfair to expect your teachers to plan high-quality instruction lessons. In his book, Catching Up or Leading the Way, Yong Zhao says, “useful knowledge changes as societies change. What used to be valuable can become irrelevant today. What is considered necessary in one society may be useless in another.” Simply put, we must change our mindset on how students learn. We must be creative in our planning and instruction to allow diversity in our teaching. This ultimately leads to higher student engagement which then leads to student achievement.
Below are some links I found useful when thinking about your school setting.