A Journey Through Technology

Week 8: What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?

on March 11, 2017

This week we are focusing on “moral purpose”, the first of the five components of leadership that Fullan describes in his book, Leadership for Change (2001). “Moral purpose is about both ends and means. In education, an important end is to make a difference in the lives of students. But the means of getting to that end are also crucial.” (Fullan, 2001, p.13) If I think of my moral purpose for becoming a teacher, it is to help all students learn, regardless of ability, and make a meaningful impact in their lives. It’s a bonus if they can also learn some chemistry along the way!

In terms of strategies that I use that are related to my moral purpose, I would say that most of the things I do with my students are related to my moral purpose. A few years ago I was trained in our district’s initiative of Capturing Kid’s Hearts, which puts a focus on building relationships with students in the classroom. Since becoming a teacher, I have enjoyed learning about students and taking an active interest in them, which helps immensely with relational capacity, but Capturing Kid’s Hearts put a much larger emphasis on this, claiming that if we can capture their hearts, we can teach them anything. I still use a few of aspects of this program in my class on a regular basis, and I can tell that it has helped me to improve my effectiveness as a teacher.

One of the main aspects of my moral purpose is to help lower achieving students find success in my classroom. Russell Grigg shares his take on teaching with moral purpose, saying that education “…needs teachers with the conviction that they can do something to address the achievement gap.” (Grigg, 2016) He goes on to say that teachers need to do something about the gap beyond just knowing that it exists. He lists techniques that successful teachers use to narrow or close achievement gaps: believing that each child has potential, not tolerating excuses for underachievement, building on prior knowledge, making lessons engaging and relevant, modeling appropriate behavior, and providing effective and timely feedback. (Grigg, 2016) Of these techniques, I feel like I am working on becoming more adpet at all of these constantly. The one that am working on most right now is making my lessons engaging and relevant, and also providing useful feedback. If I can work on these and continue to get better at each one, not only will I help my students, but I think it will also help me to become an effective leader.

Another source I found this week described moral purpose in a way that really narrowed things down: moral purpose is essentially “doing the right things for our students.” (Moral Purpose, 2013) It isn’t about what’s best for us as educators, but instead about what is best for our students. If we can put them first in all things, we might just be able to achieve our moral purpose.

In order to be an effective leader, I need to be effective in the classroom. If I can show my colleagues that I am constantly striving to achieve my moral purpose, perhaps they will join me in my journey. It’s one thing to tell teachers they need to teacher with a moral purpose, but another entirely to lead by example and show them it can be done.

Mentoring Update:

This week I met with my mentee to work with her more on using her Google Classroom. She has been using her Google Drive on a more regular basis to save her daily agendas for her Anatomy class, and this week she added one of her Biology classes. this allows her to give students access to the PowerPoint that she updates daily, without any extra effort on her part. She also made her first assignment in her Anatomy class so students could submit their lab reports to her outside of class. She has moved out of her comfort zone quite a bit and is making an active effort to try new things throughout this process. She isn’t afraid to tell me if I explain too quickly or move too fast, and I feel like we are working very well together. Next week is spring break for us, so I won’t meet with her again until the week of March 20th.

References

Capturing Kids’ Hearts 1 | Flippen Group. (2017). Flippen Group. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from http://flippengroup.com/education/capturing-kids-hearts-1/

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.,U.S. Retrieved from http://egandb.uas.alaska.edu:2081/lib/uasoutheast/reader.action?ppg=17&docID=10842273&tm=1444680173430

Grigg, R. (2016). What Does It Mean To Teach With Moral Purpose?. Teachwire. Retrieved 10 March 2017, from http://www.teachwire.net/news/what-does-it-mean-to-teach-with-moral-purpose

Moral Purpose. (2013). Connected Principals. Retrieved 11 March 2017, from http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/7996

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4 responses to “Week 8: What strategies do you use that are related to your “moral purpose”? How do these contribute to your overall leadership?

  1. unicyclepro says:

    Sometimes I am jealous of other teachers teaching content that can be engaging and realistic. I struggle with teaching Algebra, and even to a point Geometry. Algebra is difficult to engage students. Finding real world problems that is not related to physics or other advanced science is a chore. That’s one reason I think Statistics and Probability is a great class and content to teach and motivate because of the types of problems they can see are more easily recognized by most students. Who hasn’t heard about the Lottery, Bingo, or gambling in general? Or hear of statistics in most all aspects of business, entertainment, or sports? It can be personal to most students. That’s why I love statistics! I think it shows and my students can see my enthusiasm, but it doesn’t always “infect” others. 😦

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  2. Tristan Leiter says:

    I like how you say it’s a bonus if they learn some chemistry along the way, because that’s exactly how I feel about teaching math. I there to help them learn regardless of their ability and have a meaningful impact on their life, to me the math is secondary, because if the relationship is there and they know you care about them and show them you know they can be successful, it just seems to naturally happen. On the other hand, there are sometimes when it doesn’t because of external factors, but it is so much more important in those instances that the child had someone that they know cared about them, because they may not have that outside of school. I have always had “relationships are the most important, the learning will happen” drilled into my head and I firmly believe it is true.

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  3. jtschewe says:

    “doing the right things for our students” … I read the same thing. It’s simple, but for me, very powerful. It’s the litmus test I try to use with everything I do with my students. Sometimes it can be a challenge, when what’s best for the kids, is not always what’s best for me. That’s when you suck it up and do it. I also agree that knowing your kids and having healthy relationships with them only helps you better meet their needs. Those relationships only help determine what’s best for them.

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  4. Sarah K,
    Thank you for sharing your experience with Capturing Kids Hearts. I feel that there are so many kids that need a solid adult example for many reasons, some do not have a good home life, their parents are absent because of work, or they just do not relate. Teachers can leave such a positive impression with students; we get to interact with them in ways that their parents do not always see.

    Thanks again for sharing.

    Josie

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