I sat listening intently when my principal asked if we saw the approach taken (the IDEA framework) as people developer be seen by others as “being soft” and our justification of doing it. To me, I felt that a school is a very human organization. Teachers, middle managers and school leaders are continuously faced with the need to help others, in our case, our students, fellow teachers, other middle managers and even among school leaders themselves, see the reason for change, work on it, manage it where necessary and so they become a part of our learning school.
Education is constantly evolving and school leaders, middle managers and teachers alike are constantly working with this process of change, analyzing situations and looking for opportunities and leverage point for change to better our students learning. However, I feel that change is a very personal experience, and the resultant effect is different for each of us. Take for example the profession learning team (PLT) which started two years ago where teachers were asked to engage in learning with fellow teachers, consider the change at the beginning of our PLTs then and our PLTs now. Teachers are unlikely to open up themselves to learning and participate in activities such as peer observation and feedback, ICT mentoring and discussion of best practices and about pedagogical issues, unless they are confident it is safe to do this. Trust is the key and our school leaders had been the strongest facilitators of what become our school professional learning community today.
Attending to the teachers’ self appears to be the key to bring out successful change. Our emphasis is to look at the teacher as a whole human being and not just a productive unit. I also believe that together with the social factors within school which plays a greater influence than external organization such as the ministry imposed factors on levels of our teachers’ motivation to best improve the learning in school.
Above all, I believe that looking after the human side of our teachers highlights the values and beliefs about the basis on which each individual relate to the entire school, where the same approach is applied in treating students and teachers alike in promoting learning and inquiry.