Be brave and take the risk

21st October 2005 at 01:00
Eileen Brown, headteacher, Kyle Academy, Ayr

"The most important thing this offered was time to reflect and time with other colleagues. Marty Linsky and Vyla Rollins also give you the tools to make the distinction between technical and adaptive change and that was very helpful.

"Will I have more courage? Will I be able to be more innovative?

"I don't think I have ever had a problem with that. I have always felt staff were very supportive of innovation, so I'm not sure if this would change my practice in that respect."

Ian McEwan, headteacher, Queen Margaret Academy, Ayr

"This was about refreshing my perspectives on matters. I didn't think there was anything particularly new, but it was helpful - they are a very talented group.

"The distinction between technical and adaptive change I found particularly useful and I will be reviewing how I look at the service we provide for people. For me, the technical measures relate to things like looking at assessment data and putting in support, and adaptive challenge is changing hearts and minds.

"We do need to change hearts and minds of some staff, so they realise that their mission is teaching pupils and not just subjects."

Bill Milligan, headteacher, Dalmilling primary, Ayr

"There is a colossal unwillingness among teachers to see themselves as learners along with the pupils - and that sort of work is really adaptive, challenging teachers in their beliefs and values. There is a sense in which this whole session has confirmed for me that what I have been doing for the past couple of years is effective work.

"I am well able to debate with the authority about what I feel is best for the school and how the authority can assist me in this, but I'm not sure if all my colleagues share that kind of confidence. So this might be a confidence-building strategy for headteachers in South Ayrshire."

Bernadette Casey, acting depute head, South Park special school, Ayr

"I like the American style where you have to be quite reflective and evaluate yourself and be critical of yourself. But I didn't find a lot of new ideas, really - just new terminology and new ways of making you step back and stand on the balcony.

"The problem is that not everyone in South Ayrshire is here. So when you go back to school you have to try to pass on what you have heard. It's difficult for the classroom teachers to grasp that concept if they are not here to hear it and the danger is that you revert back to what you were doing before."

Sharon McLellan, headteacher, Hoddom primary, Dumfries and Galloway

"I hadn't read Marty Linsky's book (unlike the people from South Ayrshire), so a lot of the ideas were new to me. I felt at first some of them were quite contentious and provocative, but that was what they intended.

"It has allowed me to focus myself on how I could go back and sort out some challenges I am facing in my school. It has focused me on looking at things I have not done before. Part of me has found it easy to blame the situation, but it's far harder to say: 'How can I personally sort out the problem or help with the solution.'

"When we are all getting to grips with a situation, risk-taking is not perhaps the one issue we are considering but risk-assessing is."

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