At the last College assembly, I spoke to the students about the value of feedback, reflection and goal setting, important processes for growth for every member of the College community. Below is an excerpt of what I shared at the assembly:
“It was my pleasure to be able to host Tiana Ciavarella as Principal for a Day towards the end of last term. You may have read her account of the day in a previous edition of the IONA. Part of the day was spent with Mrs McDonald and myself for our weekly meeting, and on the agenda was a discussion about Mrs McDonald’s upcoming review. As we were speaking, I wondered about how much our students know about their teachers as learners and goal setters.
Many of you will know that I was reviewed earlier this year. This is a formal process that happens for all Principals in Victoria at least once every three years. The review includes surveys, interviews over two days with staff, students and parents conducted by a panel of four, and a self-reflection report that I developed, based on the College’s Strategic Plan and also the goals that I set myself each year for my own growth and development, and which I present to the Chair of the Board. The Board Chair and I receive my review report which lists commendations and recommendations from which I develop a Leadership Growth Plan identifying the actions I will pursue for my improvement as a leader. This is essentially a process about seeking feedback that supports my capacity for growth and improvement.
This year Mrs McDonald will be reviewed in a similar fashion and so will two other members of the Leadership Team – all involving a process of self-reflection, seeking feedback through surveys and interviews, and a review report, listing commendations and recommendations, which informs the development of growth goals.
Each year every leader at the College sets goals which they review regularly with their own leader at the College, and each teacher sets goals for the work they do in the classroom. They gather evidence about how their practice impacts your learning and reflect on this evidence for further refinement of their practice as teachers. Each of the teaching teams also has a goal they are working towards together.
You may have noticed this year that your teachers are in each other’s classrooms a little bit more, observing practice, asking their colleagues to provide feedback on elements of their practice they would like to reflect on, especially related to our Learn Instructional Model. Our teachers are working with their Instructional Leaders using a coaching model to provide feedback and support reflective practice, an essential element of learning that is part of our model.
This is from our Learning, Teaching and Wellbeing Framework:
We are all learners. Wellbeing positions us for learning and optimises our opportunities for success. Learning is transformational, encouraging each individual to be fearless and courageous, drawing on provocations to seek ways to contribute to a hope-filled world. We are excited about creating new ways of seeing, being and doing. Passionate teachers and engaged students actively collaborate in the learning environment.
When we talk about a growth focussed, learning community, we talk about each and every person here including staff members. Your teachers and our wonderful School Officers do not arrive knowing everything they need to know – they arrive knowing there is so much more to learn, knowing that they should be seeking experiences that challenge them to grow and improve. They engage in professional learning, goal setting, seeking feedback and reflection that supports them to grow in their work, and also to grow personally, and in doing so, are providing the best possible learning experiences for you.
So, the next time you groan about setting goals – we all do because it is a process that requires tough discernment and thinking – just remember that you are learning a skill that you will draw on throughout your lives, and will support you as a life-long learner – one of the most important skills in our rapidly changing world of work and education.”