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September 16, 2013

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For two days our Optus provided telephone line has spewed static; wifi is available, but no Internet at home. This has been a confounding experience with one uni assignment due in 3 weeks, and an urge to blog compelling my subconscious.
No Twitter at my fingertips, either. Or email. I’m not going to mention Pinterest; my obsessions are all revealed in stark, edgy bas-relief.
This condition is more than habit. I understand I am suffering from chronic tech compulsions.
Withdrawal is revelatory.
CTC, perhaps?
Surely there’s a pre-existing acronym for this disorder, especially as I am left decidedly unsettled and out of sorts. Similar to the experiences depicted in last night’s school performance of Alice In Wonderland; like the protagonist, I feel lost and confused.
My mood is complemented by the week’s reprisal of wintry winds, rain clouds and steadfastly non-drying washing now lifeless and brooding on the verandah clothesline.
Thankfully, our service fault is intermittent and, for a brief momentary relief from suffering yesterday, access to the University of Western Australia’s LMS meant I was able to download resources for the case study analysis I am drafting.
Case study? Fabricated virtual school would be a more accurate description, but it is based on a realistic composite, and I have a fair idea of the Platonic Ideal of secondary school depicted in data and practice. High SEI, 15 minutes from the city, close to beaches, built in the 70s, achieved Independent Public School Status, stable staff. Shangri-la indeed, but cracks show through the onion skin veneer of successful student achievement.
Key components of the case study I must analyse include:
  • School Profile and Priorities linked to Key Performance Indicators
  • Student achievement represented as University Eligibility and grade distributions of Examination Courses
  • Critical incident report
  • Budgets, attendance and NAPLAN performance tables
  • Vision statement, but no real school motto
Vague unease serves as an undercurrent. What persists in bothering me still? I wonder. Then the A-ha sledgehammers. I check my email functionality once more. Nada.
Difficult trying to maintain focus on a hypothetical pull-up-your-sox context when all is not right in this hyper-real world I occupy in tense expectation that soon all will be as expected, normal even, once Internet access returns.
So, to make comparisons with my school context.
2013-09-05 10.57.13
No Internet means no access to Schools Online, or the BC home webpage. Luckily, I have a copy of our Strategic Plan 2013-16.  More importantly, I have the day-to-day crucible of learning with others in order to improvement achievement for all students, and that is enshrined in relationships, daily exchange, observed behaviours, a dynamic of multiple feedback loops, real people with faces and shared experience. Real life. While I’m drafting, I grow increasingly aware of the attraction I feel for my own workplace and the people I share collaborative enterprise with. Makes an immense difference, connectivity.
Glue that binds, rendering our mutual focus sticky and compelling.
Improvement strategies I will be recommending to improve all students’ learning opportunities in both the case study scenario and our context include:
  1. Build strong collaborative structures;
  2. Re-distribute leadership to foster professional learning opportunities and redefine our school as an inclusive learning organisation for staff and students, thereby aligning processes with vision (Crowther, 2010);
  3. Promote sustainable structures and practices in order to genuinely lead learning of and for our community.
Selected reference
Crowther, F. (2010). Parallel leadership: The key to successful school capacity building. Leading and Managing, 16(1),16-39.
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