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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Mckay’

This week I attended an interesting session on ethical decision making. The session by former Surrey School Superintendent Mike McKay picked up on the work of Rushworth Kidder and his focus on mapping ethical dilemmas.  Kidder’s work was heavily referenced in the early 2000’s, and is still very relevant today.

For me, one of the impacts of these sessions where you wrestle with case studies that have a right vs. right approach is that you think back on decisions you have made that you might make differently now.  We all have them. Sure you made the right decision, but was there more than one right decision you could have made?   Decisions are products of the time, the values of the school we were in, the standards of the district, the level of experience we had, and a general view of the world. 

I have written before about Stuff I Was Wrong About, but this is different.  This is not about hunches I had that proved not to go the way I thought they would, these are decisions I made that I would now process through my current ethical framework and likely come up with a different decision.  

Kidder wrote about:

5 core values:  compassion, fairness, honesty, responsibility and respect

4 ethical lenses:  Justice/Mercy, Short or Long Term, Individual/Community and Truth or Loyalty

3 decision making principles: Greatest Good/Greatest Number (ends-based), Precedent (rules based) and Do Unto Others

Here are three I have, as a teacher, a coach and an administrator, that I still think about today – and as Cher says, “If I Could Turn Back Time”

As a Teacher –  A couple stand out around assessment and evaluation.  First, I would post marks on the wall.  They were not with names, but students numbers, but everyone still likely knew who was who.  And this did nothing for those who were struggling, if anything it probably discouraged them. I was thinking this would help improve responsibility.  Similarly, I remember failing students with 45% in a course without taking the extra time to see if I could support them to get to a passing grade.  I wanted to have standards, but did so at the expense of compassion.  I thought this was being fair at the time.  I would definitely think different now through both situations.

As a Coach –  Early on in my coaching career, I would cut teams down to a number that would allow me to maximize playing the best players.  And then, I would still be unbalanced in how I allocated playing time, even at younger high school levels.  If I went back, I would take more kids on teams, and play the less skilled players more – even if it meant losing a few more games along the way.  I often say, “Winning is fun,” but when you travel an hour for an exhibition game early in the season – everyone should play.

As an Administrator – I think about a couple of these the most.  Almost all schools I worked in used grad (or the threat of taking away grad) as a way to help maintain behaviour of grade 12 students.  As in “if you do X you won’t be allowed to attend grad.”  And I get it, still.  Grade 12s can be a pain in the last few months of their graduation year, with credits earned, future plans secured and a need to celebrate their accomplishments.  That said, I really regret taking away grad from students.  Grad is one of those life events that deserves to be celebrated.  You look back at grad photos decades later, you tell the stories of your grad to your children and grandchildren.  And, kids do dumb things and there should be ways to deal with the behaviour that allows students to make amends.

In a post I wrote in 2016 on parenting (I Used to Blame Parents) I wrote, “All of my black and white views from my early 20’s are really now very grey.”  As I think through these right vs. right dilemmas, and a series of other scenarios I worked through with colleagues, as I know more and have seen more, I am far less absolute in my thinking.

I am sure we all have some decisions we wish we could go back and see through different eyes.  I am continually reminded of a piece of advice I got from a former principal colleague, he said when challenged by a frustrated teacher, and asked how many chances he was going to give, he said “always one more.”

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I compiled a “Top 3” list for 2010 (here), and am thinking of turning the “Top 3” into an annual tradition.  Many of my 2010 choices could have held for this year, but I wanted to highlight new people, blogs, resources, etc.  These year-end lists are a great way to raise topics, discussion and debate, and shine some light onto areas that may have received less attention than I thought they deserved as the year went along.  I look forward to your own “Top 3” thoughts for 2011.

Top 3 “Culture of Yes” Blog Posts – these posts have generated the most traffic this year:

1.  My Take on Librarians

2.  Preparing and Supporting Teachers to Integrate Technology in the Classroom

3.  A Little Bit About Mrs. Caffrey

Top 3 BC Teacher Blogs I Follow:

1.  Keith Rispin, West Vancouver

2.  David Wees, Vancouver

3.  , Lytton

Top 3 BC Edu-bloggers (not current teachers or school administrators)  I Follow:

1. Mike McKay, Surrey

2. Brian Kuhn, Coquitlam

3. Tom Schimmer, Penticton

Top 3 Digital  Learning Trends in Schools:

1.  Everyone has a blog — students, teachers, administrators, district staff.  From a few dozen to a few hundred (or more) in B.C., in just one year

2.  Personally Owned Devices — more jurisdictions are including PODs as part of their digital-learning strategy

3.  iPads — from school pilots to being one of the most popular presents at Christmas, they are finding their way into more and more classrooms

Top 3 Professional Development Events I have Attended:

1.  GELP – Global Education Leadership Program

2.  West Vancouver Opening Day with Stuart Shanker

3.  MindShare Learning 21st Century Canadian EdTech Summit

Top 3 Used (and often overused) Terms in Education for the Year:

1. The Flipped Classroom

2.  Technology is just a tool

3.  Taking to Scale

Top 3 Books I have Read this Year that Influenced My Thinking:

1.  Nurtureshock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merrymen

2. Spark:  The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey

3. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Top 3 School-related Videos from West Vancouver (that I bet you haven’t seen)

1.  Students at Cypress Park talking about their project with the Obakki Foundation – Kids for Clean water

2.  Caulfeild Elementary sharing the story of their iDEC Program

3.  Students at West Vancouver Secondary and their lipdub from the spring

Top 3 School-related Videos from B.C. (that I bet you haven’t seen)

1.  Students from School Completion and Beyond reflecting on the BC EdPlan

2.  An introduction to Learning Commons in BC

3.  Delta School District Vision Video

As I finish my first full year as Superintendent, I continue to love using my blog to reflect, share and engage.  I like David Eaves‘ notion that the blog is a great place to work out the mind.  I look forward to continuing to connect in 2012!

Chris Kennedy

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IF YOU RECEIVE THIS POST VIA EMAIL YOU WILL LIKELY HAVE TO GO TO THE SITE TO VIEW THE VIDEOS EMBEDDED BELOW.

Sometimes I feel like we are the only district or province talking about school system design, and it can be a lonely conversation. After all, why change? We already have an extremely successful system. Every now and then, however, the topic is front and centre as was the case following the release of B.C.’s Education Plan last week.

In addition, I have the opportunity from time to time to participate in projects which remind me that discussions about how to move our education system forward are taking places in all corners of the country, albeit often quietly. The following five-minute video, Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: A Canadian Perspective (recently released by the Pearson Foundation) in which I — along with my BC colleagues, Mike McKay of Surrey and Steve Cardwell of Vancouver, and colleagues from across the country — was asked to
share our thoughts about the changes that need to take place. In seeing the video, I realize that we are saying some very similar things right across the country.

Nor are Canadians the only ones asking questions. The video was modelled after one created by an international group of educators who offered their reflections on education:

Stephen Hempel’s statement at the end of that presentation is one that really sticks with me. “It’s the death of education and the dawn of learning,” he stated, “which makes me very
happy.”

These are exciting times to be part of this profession.

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