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Leading By Example, in the 21st Century...

Leadership in our Professional Learning Network...

When "Leading By Example" is the motto and a focus of your learning organization, you can expect a lot of reflection upon the concepts and dynamics of group leadership. As I have had the privilege of being the primary designer as well as the first network coordinator for the ANUAH Project, I have spent many hours thinking about this and dealing with the realities of trying to develop such a geographically large and intellectually complex network of related projects. I'd like to share a couple observations about my own and ANUAH's current "leadership" dynamics.

"Project Director" vs. "Project Coordinator" Functions
This is my third year coordinating a TAH grant project, but only the first year that I have come to understand the difference between "directing" and "coordinating" a project. My previous grant was simple (static) enough that I never had to confront this issue head on before ANUAH. I will use a pair of analogies to point at some of the differences between these functions.

A "coordinator" is responsible for creating and maintaining a "vehicle" or a "vessel". This includes establishing and improving communications with and between all the teacher participants and all the professional development contributers and agencies. It includes over-seeing the development of all the service contracts, university credit courses, and individual P-D event logistics. It also includes coordinating all participant recruitment efforts and answering all questions by members and participating staff developers. In other word it entails creating and running a well oiled machine, the purpose of which is to support learning and professional development...

A "director" is responsible "steering" the vehicle, or filling "content" into the vessel that is being maintained. An excellent program of professional development is the direction or content of a director's focus. The vision, direction and ultimate impact of a project are the responsibility of a director.

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Comment by Mark J Biberg on November 15, 2010 at 6:40pm
Very sound reference and source. I think those words could be valauble (and invaluable) in a educational leadership context, and in many other senses. (politics, the military, a variety of systems, etc.).

I am not sure how cyber teaching, being a cyber student, and leaderhip in relation to on line curriculum and Internet learning would be improved with ancient and practical ideas like those.

I appreciate that the study of history necessarily give us access to the wisdom of the Great Teachers in history, including Confucious (sp), The Budha, Socrates, Jesus, Muhammad, and others. Many nuggets of wisdom can be garnered from each teacher and tradition, and in many ways their message is similar. ( i.e.- golden rule, appreciation of family and tradition, study and meditation as keys to the lessons in life).

Leadership and the sability to lead facinates me; in addition, WE The people, or the the folks being led offer amazing insight as well: can you take people farther than they want to go (how important is the "will of the people") and does a good leader take people beyond whether they are ready to go their or not.

thanks for your comments on leader ship. I appreciated the feedback and the source cited.

Delta Cyber
Comment by John Trampush on November 15, 2010 at 12:27pm
Mark, your comment reminds me of Chapter 17 of the Tao Te Ching-

The best rulers are scarcely known by their subjects;
The next best are loved and praised;
The next are feared;
The next despised:
They have no faith in their people,
And their people become unfaithful to them.

When the best rulers achieve their purpose
Their subjects claim the achievement as their own.
Comment by Cindee Karns on November 10, 2010 at 1:06pm
Excellent point, Mark. After the 20+ mark, I'm wondering if it's leadership to sit back and watch something fail? The leader is the one who says, "Okay what can we learn from this?" I really don't like to see kids fail though---something ingrained in Teacher School. :-)
Comment by Mark J Biberg on November 10, 2010 at 12:44pm
We used to talk a great deal about leadership in the Marines and to some degree i ahd the idea that it was the person in front, visible, and giving orders...that person was the leader. Now, after getting to the 10 year mark in my teaching career (a bit more if you count my military teaching) I have the experience to look at an activity big or small and to realize that a great deal of effort goes into its undertaking, and the vital leadership may be behind the scenes. I think one of the traits of an efefctive leader is humility, that is somebody that can be central and vital to an activities success, but at the time of execution are fine to sit back and watch it work and not have to be known as teh person to that made it work or was vital to its implementation.


Comment by Cindee Karns on June 10, 2010 at 12:43pm
Here's a quote for you: "The tighter I hold on to the steering wheel, the more out of control I feel!" It seems like the Coordinator is nuts and bolts and doesn't do a lot of creative things. The coordinator supports the director make the creative ideas the director has happen, true? Is this what I heard you say?

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