The four things that make a big difference
In this think piece and accompanying series of conversations with John Bosselman, REAL Projects Leadership Coach David Jackson looks at the question “What is it that school leaders need to do to support REAL Projects implementation in their schools if they are to avoid the problems many school leaders have encountered?”
He thinks four things make a difference:
- The leader locates REAL Projects and the work at the centre of the future vision for the school
- The leader is eloquent in articulating a future vision to the entire staff and community.
- The leader is steadfast about the future place of the work within the school’s curriculum and the wider system – they see the long game; they hold the line.
- The leader creates safe space for experimentation and risk – establishes a culture that nurtures the work, that is optimistic and celebratory.
- The leader is proactive about enablement, problem-solving and empowers the team by actively sponsoring work.
- The leader chooses the team wisely and appoints a charismatic, dynamic and optimistic adult learner to lead the work.
- The leader ensures the REAL Projects team receives planning time, timetable prioritization, resources and funding to support the work.
- The leader empowers the PBL team and actively sponsors and promotes the work – communicating success, spreading optimism; offering challenge; seeking out opportunities for celebration and endorsement.
- The leader mediates and mitigates external accountability pressures and constraints – they offer stewardship and guardianship by regularly engaging with the work.
- The leader develops a strong narrative to work alongside Ofsted to help it understand the work and its place in the school.
- The leader visibly and regularly engages with REAL Projects – he/she leads by example.
- The leader is informed and connected to the wider international knowledge-base and models that for the rest of the school
Just as the school is becoming rich in knowledge, tools and materials in support of REAL Projects, connecting with the practices of teachers across both UK schools and internationally, so the school leader can model this by connecting the school with national and international practice and the evidence from research. There is a growing body of practice in successful PBL design and delivery, and there is equally a growing range of school design models and features that are facilitative of engaged and impassioned learning. By connecting the school with advanced practices – and contributing to them – the leader is living out on a larger canvas the values that will help internal learning to thrive.
Download full think piece here.