Monday, November 18, 2013

Asking School Principals The Right Question

How have you changed your communications strategy in the digital age?

Sheninger's question, if addressed to the instructional leader or administrator, is a reactionary response to a cultural movement that begins with the educator.  If the question is directed to the educator, then the question is incomplete.

I'm not sure how much utility there is to catapult leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, etc. to the educational field.  As great leaders they certainly had a message and could communicate it well to others.  And yes, school principals need to be able to do this to a degree, but I think it's more important that principals are able to promote relationships within the local context of the school.  The level of detail and locality in relationship building required in schools is hardly achievable between a country's president and its citizens.

Changing a communications strategy is a cultural change involving all educational stakeholders.  It's not enough to ask the question to one stakeholder without understanding the relationship (and implications) the answer has in terms of others.  Purposeful change comes from understanding how a change in one educator affects change in someone else.  Principals who understand their local complexity, understand how to rally relationships together in order to problem set and solve.

If I were asking school principals the question, I would ask...

How can interactive environments bring the necessary people together in order to problem set and solve around a school's mission and vision statements, cultural values, and current objectives?

What questions would you ask school principals?  Educators?  Instructional leaders?  Civic leaders?