Why Blog? – #Leadership20

Last week was the first webinar of the Leadership 2.0 Open Course offered through the Alberta Regional PD Consortium. The series of webinars will provide administrators a collaborative environment to work through leadership qualities as outlined through Alberta Education’s Principal Quality Practice document. The first webinar focused on the idea of developing a digital portfolio to use as a reflection tool for the series.

Reflecting on the webinar and the subsequent twitter chat at #leadership20, I gleaned three take aways that will help guide my blogging journey:

Purposeful Reflection

In the middle of last year, I signed up for a WordPress account full of ambition and good intentions… and I promptly ignored my blog for the rest of the year. This fall, I have decided to make a point of using my blog as a formal reflection tool to publish some of my thoughts and musings pertaining to education in general. So far, I’ve been pretty good at making some semi-regular posts and I’m starting to find some personal gratification from formalizing some of my thoughts in this venue.

The idea of using a blog to not only reflect, but to create a living, digital portfolio has definitely got me interested. I plan on restructuring my blog a bit so I can link posts to the various leadership dimensions outlined in the principal quality practice. My hopes is to start categorizing these posts to create a living portfolio of my thoughts as they pertain to the Principal Quality Practice. Over time, this should become a valuable reflection tool that will allow me to see trends and tendencies that I may have focusing on, or ignoring various leadership dimensions (at least within the blog world).

Leading by Learning and Learning by Doing

The importance of modelling was explicit not only in the webinar, but in the twitter conversations that followed.  Today’s leaders must be learning leaders willing to step outside their comfort zones in the name of professional growth. Writing has always been one of my weaknesses; a skill that I would shy away from if and whenever I could avoid it. This blog will hopefully help with my writing as I continue to practice the skill. It is also my hopes to get “critical friend” feedback from my peers through this process.

This year, I also want my staff to spend time reflecting on their practice, and it is my hope that this blog will help to encourage my staff to reflect in a meaningful way. I am also starting to see the value of blogging as a valuable communication tool. It would be great to see staff members start to use blogs as part of their personal practice so they too can model the practice with their students. As leaders, and most importantly, as learners we have a great deal to share with the larger education community, and a blog seems like a great tool to facilitate this process.

Public Practice

As educators, the value of sharing our practice has become so valuable. The process of sharing allows me to put my practice out there so that others can perhaps learn from my experiences. Equally important, the act of sharing opens myself for feedback from my peers. The simultaneous act of teaching and learning that occurs through sharing of practice is engaging and beneficial to all parties. I have always valued the internet as a tool to seek and find expertise that is outside my contextual grasp, but I also need to do my part with sharing out so that others might learn from myself.

Sharing through a tool such as a blog is a global experience. In a previous post, I focused on the power of the face-to-face conversation. The downside of the face-to-face conversation is that we are limited by time and geography. This temporal and geographic isolation can restrict our horizons and perspectives that we are exposed to. The power of the blog literally opens my practice to the world. At the end of our last professional development day, a staff member commented on the benefit of having a “fresh set of eyes” that helped his collaborative team work through some stagnation. It is my hope that through this process, a fresh set of eyes can perhaps shed some light on my personal practice.

On a closing note, I would like to thank George Couros for kicking off the Leadership 2.0 webinar series, and for producing a great exemplar in his own blog.

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