Where’s the Leadership

Hello everyone, although I have many thoughts about the leadership (or lack of it) being shown amidst the Covid 19, looting and rioting situations,  I am taking a break from that topic until I get my thoughts a little more organized.  This week I was introduced to some research from John Hattie which I found very interesting – and a little counter cultural.  I particularly liked his challenge of the system when he stated that in his opinion and research it seemed like much of what gets debated about school systems doesn’t really matter that much……

Of course when making that statement he was being somewhat facetious – but only somewhat in my opinion.  In his comment he was referring to four specific areas that are often discussed and that much personal development time is dedicated to:

  1. Structural Supports
  2. Attributes of Students
  3. Deep Programs
  4. Technology

Hattie also mentions that in his opinion a desire to share a passion with students is a key characteristic / trait of the most successful teachers.  I agree with his assertion and the more I thought about it the more I began to wonder about the hiring process for teachers and how a leader might go about interviewing for the skill of “passion’.

I don’t have the answer to that question yet but it does seem to me that much of the current hiring process is focused on the “pedigree” (i.e. certifications, degrees, research projects, papers being published, etc…) of applicants and doesn’t include enough focus on some of the softer skills – like an ability to convey passion, ability to work with a variety of students, teaching / mentoring experience outside a school environment, etc…  While the pedigree pieces are an important indicator of a candidate’s abilities, it seems like exploring competence in some of these additional skills would be just as important to ensure that the most qualified individuals are selected.  Similar to what Hattie mentions in the video about the areas mentioned above, I wonder if this is because the pedigree pieces are the more visible items.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

2 thoughts on “Where’s the Leadership

Add yours

  1. Hi Paul,
    I had a similar take away from the reading this week. And you have a wonderful point about schools hiring passionate teachers. You reminded me of my interview for my current position. It was a fairly typical panel interview with administration and 3 of the teachers I now work with. Recently I was talking with one of these teachers about my interview, and she relayed that they were looking for this characteristic and could see that in me. I remember my principal telling me when I was hired that everyone had agreed I was the right person because of how I answered 1 specific question. They had asked me if I could have dinner with anyone who would it be. I had never given this any thought so I paused and then answered that it would be someone who would be a positive influence on my daughters. It may have been then and there they could see that element of passion in me.


  2. Paul – I totally agree that the most important ingredients to a great teacher are those that are difficult to portray on paper. Making connections with students, showing love to them, creativity and passion in the classroom are such important traits – and ones that are difficult to teach! I wonder what effect size love and compassion for students would have on their learning!


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