After reading The Fourth Way article in Educational Leadership/October 2008, by Andrew Hargreaves and Dennis Shirley, I’ve been trying to apply personal meaning to this new way. The 4th Way has five Pillars of Purpose, three Principals of Professionalism and four Catalysts of Coherence. But I think The 4th way rests firmly on just one pillar!
“An inspiring and inclusive vision that draws people together in pursuit of an uplifting common purpose.”
Beyond that the other pillars involve Collaboration in order to achieve the vision and common purpose being pursued. The Principals of Professionalism come from having Learning Conversations, or from Collaborators involved in an Active Learning network. And finally we need *accountability Responsibility to ensure the changes that we make are meaningful. I specifically avoided the term ‘assessment’, as that term suggests measuring things in ways that may not necessarily measure what we would consider progress. No ‘standardization’ as Hargreaves suggests! Hargreaves’ Catalysts of Coherence are embedded throughout the pyramid.
We need a common vision of what we are in this for… Why schools are important? And how are they of value to our society and to our students? We need to be collaborating more effectively.
In doing so, we need to meaningfully connect Community, Educators, Students and Schools. We need to harness the strength of networks and learning communities and, equally as important, we have to create the time for these communities to meet as part of an educator’s (and student’s) day/week.
We need to be reflective learners, *accountable responsible to our communities that we share our learning with. Principles of Professionalism and Catalysts of Coherence will help us get ‘there’… but we need to collaborate and figure out where ‘there’ is first.
Not the Knowing, but the Process of Inquiry. Not covering the curriculum, but ‘uncovering’ the curriculum. A focus in innovation and creativity… how do we model this… every day?
We model this by creating meaningful learning communities based on professional inquiry and by giving those learning communities the time and resources to make things happen.
*See update below.
Inspirational reading and viewing:
What business are we in? by Clarence Fisher.
If “It’s not about the technology.” Then What is it About? by Heidi Gable.
Letting Go by Alec Couros
21st Century Pedagogy by Greg Whitby on YouTube
Raising Expectations by Kelly Christopherson
We are ready for The 4th Way!
*UPDATE: November 2nd, 2008
I originally had “Accountability” in the top arrow, but a colleague suggested that I change it to “Responsibility” in keeping with Hargreaves’ idea of “Responsibility before Accountability”.
In a letter to my Superintendent, Tom Grant, Andy Hargreaves suggested that “Teaching and Learning” be at the top of the Pyramid. He said, “ We would put teaching and learning at the top, though and reflection all around it, probably.” I may change this yet again when I get an understanding of how to represent ‘all around it’ visually. Hargreaves also said to Tom, “It’s great that you are the first in to the fourth way, and in your own way which is entirely as it should be.” This truly is an exciting time for us!
*Update: April 28th, 2009 See my new post: [Part 2]