Leaders are charged with many things within the confines of a school. Raising collective teacher efficacy is one of the many complexities tasked to leaders and as Wiliams said: “if we create a culture where everyone believes they need to improve, not because they are not good enough but because they can be even better, there’s no limit to what we can achieve.” Growing, or even developing, efficacy can be achieved by sharing good practice, listening to understand (rather than respond), enabling collaboration, and providing beneficial professional development opportunities; these are just some approaches but there are things we can do for our own self-efficacy.
Within education we often face barriers, whether they be self-imposed or ordained from upon high but what has to always unite us is not only our resolve to do what we know to be right and in the best interest of the students but also that of our community. We shouldn’t squabble or form barriers against one another, despite any differences, as our most valuable resource is one another, our collective experience and knowledge. If wisdom is the collective application of knowledge in action, then we should seek out further occasions and overlook our differences as each encounter is a learning opportunity. So as William James writes, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.”
Perspectives are unique, you could even say they are our own personal reality, therefore everyone has their own individual reality and thus it is pivotal to see things through a different lens to truly be perspective-seeking and perspective-taking. We need to see things from another’s viewpoint while also being willing and open-minded; seeking out and seeing different opinions and experiences to learn from. In light of this, as Stephen Covey says, “Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” so giving others a voice from which we can all learn is vital and no singular voice is more important than another as by measure we are all equal.
A great example of this was shared in episode 7 of #LearnLiveUAE where empowering staff in schools to lead learning and have a voice within their setting helps to drive both teacher efficacy and the school forwards. You can watch the episode below.
If the fabric of our day is designed by decision then we should be actively celebrating the abundance of opportunities available to us and embracing them as opposed to being fearful or attempting to prevent diversity. Rather, we should accept them if we are to truly open up a plethora of channels and opportunities to ourselves, we should acknowledge the need for a wider range of perspectives in a particular space. “The reason why we have two ears and one mouth is so we might listen more and talk less,” (Zeno of Citium) so, let us build one another up so that we can build up our students and not inhibit our value as educators.
Empowering people to challenge their own perspectives or even in making new and informed decisions not only builds culture but also drives self-efficacy, especially so when working towards a common goal of changing the direction of a shared belief (classroom, team, or school) or effecting change with students. We can forget, instinctively at times, that initial “why” of joining social media platforms; not to celebrate ourselves but fundamentally to learn from others, share and grow.
Efficacy can be grown here, in this very digital space, much like we promote with our students in classroom across the world. Through the promotion of collaboration across our collective experience, listening to others over ourselves to ensure we are truly paying attention and putting ego aside so that we hear and learn from others. We all know that sharing good practice leads to an impact when successfully guided so why try to prevent the unlocking of knowledge for others when it should be liberated and spread widely.
#LearnLiveUAE is a chance for educators across the region, and even further afield, to share their collective experience, knowledge, and ideas in an open forum for the benefit of others. So far we have been graced with some amazingly talented educators that have given up their time for the education community simply because kindness is free and they want to help us enable learning for others and grow efficacy in the community. So tune in to the show, Monday’s 8 pm GST, or even subscribe here and see what you too can learn from a different voice within our community.