Sunday, August 30, 2015

Leadership and Change - a reflective memo

TASK: Write a reflective memo on 3 readings related to leadership and change, and introduce the focus of your case study and the models you have chosen to apply. 


This report discusses three new forces impacting on education today and going forward into the future.  The first force is 'new pedagogies' and relates to the new learning partnerships that develop between and among students and teachers when resources and digital tools become ‘pervasive’. The second force is 'new change leadership' which 'merges top-down, bottom-up and sideways energies to generate change faster and easier than anything seen in past efforts at reform'.  The third force is 'new system economics' where the essential and powerful learning resources and tools, which accelerate the first 2 forces, become more affordable for all.  The report gives the background to why change is happening globally, what the new pedagogies are all about, how they can be viewed in modern education and what the possibilities are if the new pedagogies model is developed in schools.

This report is an excellent resource for anyone in education.  It comes from a well respected and internationally known educator (Fullan) who has numerous highly regarded books and papers published in relation to key educational concepts within future-focused learning like change management, leadership, collaboration, digital tools etc.  The report is well structured and references a huge amount of research, both from international experts as well as New Zealand experts, which I found reassuring, to know there were links to our education system.  One of the most beneficial aspects of this report was the numerous school stories, including teacher quotes, statistics & data, tables of relevant information etc. as I was able to directly link and substitute these examples with some of our own information in relation to my school context.  I believe this report is an essential resource for education leaders and all teachers to read as it is engaging, informative and very motivating.  You come away for a better sense of the immediate need for change and the possibilities the new pedagogies model could provide us with.

This Core-Ed EdTalk video was filmed in March 2015 and is a recording of the presentation Michael Fullan gave to Canterbury leaders. During the presentation Fullan goes into detail about what quality change processes look like and links this to the international project he is involved in which includes clusters of schools from around the globe, including New Zealand.  The clusters are a part of a global collaboration called New Pedagogies for Deep Learning, which has the objective of bringing to life the new pedagogies model as described in 'A Rich Seam', in a variety of schools all over the world "creating a coherent suite of sustainable educational solutions, designed to achieve and support the strategic outcome of students reaching education success enabled by a technologically advanced society". 

I was lucky enough to actually attend this presentation in person. One of his key points is that the glue for successful change needs to come from leadership from the middle, where our principals and school leaders are participating and driving the change collaboratively - they should be a force for change but they must be a learner as well, where they can influence the climate of the school and create a non-judgmental culture, demonstrating how we are all learners, who make mistakes but value learning and are transparent about their own learning.  Fullan also shares the three keys to maximising impact, referencing Robinson's BES (2009) work and how leaders need to be moving towards the right drivers of capacity building, systems, pedagogy and collaboration. 

He acknowledges the unique context of education renewal in Christchurch as a result of the earthquakes and how the Ministry of Education's Investing in Educational Success initiative could dramatically change the landscape of education in our city.  He acknowledges that the key component of increasing collaboration and sharing expertise across a wider community of schools is a positive step and it will create many exciting benefits for our students however there are still things that need more thought and our leaders should be helping to collaboratively shape the best pathway forward wherever possible.

This video of Chris Jansen, a lecturer at the University of Canterbury was recorded at the Educational Leaders Forum 2011.  Chris explores the change process, and how to make this more of a positive experience. He describes the process of Appreciative Inquiry, which maintains a positive focus.  He shares the 4 Ds of appreciative inquiry and what the focus is for each step.  The first step is Discover - where leaders pair up, record a positive story from their own experiences and then share it with their partner.  Next is Dream - where the pairs now articulate their stories to the wider group, and all the participants pull together the themes. Following that is Design - which is where the strategic planning occurs, building on from the previous steps where the themes were identified of things that worked well and the final step is Deliver - which includes sequenced action planning, operational goals being established and the vision becoming grounded in the process.  

Chris shares examples of Canterbury schools and clusters that have used the Appreciative Inquiry process successfully and have also included the wider school community as part of this process.  This allows leaders to collaboratively take ownership and more importantly, 'authorship' (Breakspear, Sheahan, Thurbon, 2008) and has enabled leaders to collaboratively work on and implement a shared vision for their cluster of schools when they could be considered, in some aspects, competitors.

This video is a very easy watch and Chris explains things clearly and succinctly.  I particularly connected to what he was saying as I have a personal connection to both Chris and his work.  Chris is one of my lecturers for another course I am taking this year, EDEM682, and I have also been following the clusters and schools he discusses in the video so was already familiar with how they had been using the Appreciative Inquiry model to collaborate at leadership level.  This links beautifully with the Fullan video above 'Leading Quality Change' as it also references the need for inquiry and collaboration at a leadership level and how this can impact on the success and sustainability of change in schools.

So What?

Digging deep into these three excellent readings/resources, amongst many more and drawing on the findings of my review of the two change models; Davis' 'Arena of Change' (2008) and the Hall and Hord's CBAM model (1987), I have decided that the focus of my academic case study for assignment 3 of EDEM630 will be "What have been the benefits and challenges of implementing BYOD across Cobham Intermediate?  

As part of this case study, I will look closely at what the role of leadership has been throughout the pilot and whole school implementation phases and how this has impacted on what challenges and benefits have arisen for both staff and students at Cobham Intermediate.

I believe I will find strong links between the successes we have experienced and Fullan's findings in terms of what quality change processes look like, for example one huge success we have experienced has been the shift to using Google Apps for Education and Hapara Teacher Dashboard, an effective online tool to manage and monitor Google Apps for Education student activity.  One of the reasons this has been so successful is that it has direct links to many of the key drivers for successful change like enabling improved systems, increased blended (online and face to face) collaboration between staff and students, building capacity in terms of all staff being able to access and manage online student work and finally and most excitingly, this has been a learning experience for our teachers and leaders.  They were, and are still, all in the learners seat with this move and have been very transparent about how new this is for them, what challenges they are facing, what professional development they need and how they can tap into the strengths and expertise that their students may have to learn from them.  The Māori concept of Ako is common place throughout all of our BYOD journey.  Ako means both to teach and to learn and it recognises and values the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning experiences.  This has been extremely prevalent in the area of learning with digital devices and it is exciting to see some of our teachers let go of their need to be in the dominant teacher role and embrace the learner role, while our kids lead the way forward!

Now What?

Being a part of the leadership team at Cobham, I want to look closely at how leadership has influenced the outcomes of our BYOD journey - what worked or did not work, how could things have been improved if different decisions had been made at leadership level and how has leadership decision making influenced other ecologies (Davis, 2008) within our context.

I would also like to examine what concerns were identified by staff in the early stages of moving to BYOD, if or how these were addressed and what their concerns are now, aligned to CBAM (1987), as we move towards the end of our first year as a BYOD school.

As part of my learning tasks and to assist with my case study research for assignment three, I would like to interview my principal with 3-5 carefully selected questions related to the BYOD journey at Cobham so I can apply the learnings from the interview to my findings for my case study.  This is particularly important as I only begun my job at Cobham in January this year and as with any major change to practice, the move to BYOD has been several years in the making, with several more to come I imagine.  The more we learn and discover about what benefits our students and staff are experiencing versus what challenges are being faced, the more leadership want to improve the current systems and processes in our BYOD strategy to ensure we are providing the very best BYOD experience our school community deserves.

I believe it would be valuable as part of my case study to draw parallels, where possible,
 between the successful elements of our BYOD journey and the links to the three forces with 'A Rich Seam' (2014).  I believe the three forces - 'new pedagogies', 'new change leadership' and 'new system economics' are intertwined with the rationale for BYOD and if we get BYOD right, it will be a great example of the new pedagogies in action.


Breakspear, S., Sheahan, P., Thurbon, D. (2008). Talent Magnets. Retrieved from 

Fullan, Michael. (2015). Leading quality change. EdTalk in Canterbury at CORE, April 2015.

Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (2014). A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, London: Pearson.

Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (1987). Change in schools: Facilitating the process. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Jansen, Chris. (2011). Positive change processes. Educational Leaders Forum 2011, Christchurch.

Robinson, V., Hōhepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes:  
Identifying what works and why. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.


  1. Awesome post Tamara! Am about to go an hunt out those Edtalks! I really like how you are using such an authentic context for your assignments. I'm really interested to hear how the reflection on BYOD goes. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Ngaire - if you click on the title of each reading/EdTalk it will take you directly to them :)