SCHOOLS AS LEARNING ORGANIZATIONS

Schools are no different from any other organization intent upon sustainability, competitiveness, customer satisfaction, staff motivation and the building of purposeful relationships across the wider community or catchment.

Successful organizations ARE learning organizations where learning permeates the entire organizational fabric. ‘Total quality’ requires learning to steer not only the vision for the future but the planning, problem-solving and decision-making processes that encourage the freedom to experiment and to embrace change. For schools to be recognized as true learning organizations their performance is judged by much more than results and league tables, rather by the pervading culture, the welcome and atmosphere at the door, the general demeanor of staff and students; by a hunger for the obtaining and sharing of new knowledge; by a collective confidence founded in systematic procedure and by a style of leadership that engages, motivates, re-enforces and inspires trust.

ISO 9001 the nationally recognized ‘Total Quality Standard’

finds 7 critical principles to underpin the management of quality to a standard worthy of accreditation. In each case, learning lies at the very heart of their execution and attainment …

  1. An all-consuming focus on the customer
  2. Leadership at all levels that provides a unity of purpose
  3. A workforce of competent, empowered and engaged people
  4. Systems and processes providing clarity of purpose and direction
  5. A constant review of ways of working and commitment to their improvement
  6. Decision-making based on evidence and the sharing of information
  7. The informed management of relationships,

THE LEARNING SCHOOL pursues total quality principles …

  1. It is learning-centric with concern for not only what students learn but how they learn. Learning is treated as a skill for life not just for school;
  2. Leadership creates a strategic framework to make the school the best that it can be to serve the present and future needs of its community catchment. It engages everyone in plan delivery;
  3. Willingness to learn, to embrace change and to forge a learning culture are pre-requisites of both performance on the job and staff recruitment;
  4. Systems and processes will have recognizable purpose and offer clarity to problem-solving and decision-making at all levels of employment;
  5. Leaders, staff and students are encouraged to be resourceful, to experiment, to be resilient and by sharing ideas and experiences, improve the school’s performance and well-being;
  6. The action plans that are to deliver the strategic framework, review pedagogy and refresh classroom culture are constantly under scrutiny; 7. Learning is the principle upon which all relationships throughout the school community are founded and practiced.

Research tells us that Learning Power also relies on 7 pillars of proficiency … and that they underpin the realization of an ambition to create a LEARNING SCHOOL:

  1. Changing and Learning, the willingness to learn and embrace change, is the fundamental principle upon which the school will thrive and become sustainable ;
  2. Meaning Making, or the synthesis of apparently unrelated factors to provide hidden linkages, IS purposeful leadership;
  3. Strategic Awareness in this context finds the school able to deal confidently with the uncertainties of organizational change;
  4. Critical Curiosity accepts nothing less than a thorough investigation of challenging issues to get to, and dismantle, the root cause;
  5. Creativity, thinking laterally, is essential when examining/revising ways of working;
  6. Resilience holds the key to implementing unpopular or unpalatable decisions;
  7. Learning Relationships are the lifeblood of best organizational practice and behavior.

THE LEARNING QUALITY METHODOLOGY

We have developed a simple process that will enable every school, whatever its circumstances, to take a first step on the ladder to creating a quality learning environment …. you can

  1. Create an ‘ELLI’ pilot program to assess the Learning Power of a trial group or class (with up to 5 students profiled FREE), remembering that ELLI will direct interventions for improvement and track consequential changes in performance for you; AND
  2. Visit www.learningqualityframework.com where you will find an introduction to our ‘learning road map’ for schools.