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momentary lull

December 20, 2014






A new timetable travelled home with me from work on Thursday, and my intention is to transcribe this schedule along with important dates into my 2015 teacher planner as I tidy my study in stages during the summer holiday break.

Paper piles proliferating on the floor and on top of the photocopier are the first targets in sight: No mere discards, these middens trace lesson ideas/ patterns of thinking/ iterations of inquiry learning/ creative enterprise.

What settled?

  • Multiple intelligence framework for planning integrated learning tasks
  • Biography/ autobiography task rubric
  • Bloom’s planning framework
  • Cross section of the Globe Theatre
  • Representations of Australian images (colour photocopies laminated for Stage 3 English)
  • Packaged sets of optical illusions (provoke critical thinking)
  • Peer review frameworks for recording notes and documenting listening skills

Clearly, the tail end of one school year conceals looping tendrils informing the next. Either that, or there are overlapping tensions, with multiple interwoven connections, like a maze or labyrinth.


CC Image Source

A similar hiatus was evident from my desk at school – left cleared of its usual work-in-progress debris – and a classroom eerily vacant due to stacked desks and chairs; the momentary lull is significant. I am savouring

  • This invitation to renewal
  • Space for sorting and enabling shift
  • Possibilities, some currently unknown



CC Image Source

In the sense that

every teacher is a school leader, as she or he has to lead students in their learning experience (OECD, 2001, p.55),

it is important to reflect on what serves us well in current contexts, while also directing our gaze towards the horizon.  This lull presents opportunities to take bearings:

Taking surveys to review school culture can also help to illuminate leaders’ reflective thinking about the relative health of a learning ecosystem – there is one here and another here.

According to research, context of both leadership and current school reform imperatives are important to understand since

Variables such as SES, home educational environment and school size have a clear interactive effect on leadership, the school and student outcomes (Mulford & Silins, 2003, p. 11).

Knowing your context within its global dynamic becomes essential. With community attunement,

the teachers perceive the school as having productive working relations with the community and that school’s administrators are sensitive to the community, work with community representatives and incorporate community values in the school (Mulford & Silins, 2003, p. 4).


Like my persistent attempts to capture a panorama of this sunset from Cottesloe Beach last week on my birthday, horizon gauging can be problematic: Light fades; seagulls swoop; much depends on the steady movement of your camera. So it is in the school context where the frenetic pace of learning/ assessment cycles can generate wholesale exhaustion.

Unless you stop.


Selected references

Mulford, B. & Silins, H. (2003). Leadership for organisational learning and improved student outcomes. Retrieved December 20, 2014

OECD. (2001). What works in innovation in education? New school management approaches. Centre for educational research and innovation. Retrieved December 20, 2014

Recommended reading

Browning, P. (2014). Compelling leadership. Centre for Research Innovation and Future Development. Retrieved December 20, 2014

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