BCPVPA Short Course, Day 2

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I continue to reflect on my week of learning through the BCPVPA Short Course held at UBC last week. Each day I find myself thinking back to the experience and recalling morsels of valuable information. Yesterday I wrote about my experiences on the first day. I continue today, thinking about Day 2, which focused on Instructional Leadership with keynote speaker Bruce Beairsto. I enjoyed listening to Bruce, a dynamic speaker who uses humour and stories to keep his audience engaged.

Bruce challenged us to think about what leadership meant to us, and what characteristics a good leader possesses. He discussed the two faces of a successful administrator, the manager and the leader. One thing which struck a chord with me was that management involves the building of a house and leadership involves the process of turning that house into a home. Many comparisons were drawn between manager and leader, for example a manager provides instruction whereas a leader provides inspiration, a manager is seen as a supervisor whereas a leader is viewed as a colleague.

Bruce also acknowledged the “implementation dip” which occurs when you are taking risks and you come to realize that you “suck”. Risk taking is a very important aspect of being an educator. In order to move forward and try something new, you must accept that you will not always be successful right away, that your “new idea” may need a lot of adjusting as you go. I believe that we need to celebrate our failures because it is through failure that we find success.This is where a professional learning community (PLC) comes in, allowing for members of a group to feel safe as they explore new ways of teaching, to feel that they are not alone in their quest to grow as educators.

Following the keynote I participated in two breakout sessions. The first one was facilitated by Ian Landy, @technolandy, and focused on how we communicate through technology. Ian introduced me to ePortfolios, a tool that can be used throughout the learning process to help deepen student learning, and provide meaningful feedback to students and parents. I was very impressed with the samples that he provided and plan to explore this type of technology further. Thank you Ian!

The second breakout session which I participated in was facilitated by Bradley Baker and Juanita Coltman, Aboriginal Success through Leadership. Bradley and Juanita presented the Leadership Standards for Principals and Vice Principals in BC through an Aboriginal point of view. This breakout allowed for rich conversations involving the sharing of successes from around the province with regards to our Aboriginal learners. It quickly became apparent that the people in the room were passionate and committed to working with our Aboriginal communities to improve Aboriginal student success.

The day ended with time for reflection in our groups as we all shared our experiences from the day. I left the beautiful, new Student Union building at UBC and walked back to my room feeling so fortunate to be a part of such an inspiring learning community. I asked myself, what are the characteristics of a great leader and I have tried to condense the rather long list that I  compiled down to five. I chose: flexible, supportive, collaborative, competent and caring.

What characteristics come to mind when you think of a leader who has influenced you in positive way?

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