What does it take to lead change?

What does it take to lead change?

The last few years have no doubt shown how important it is for principals to lead for change and impact.

Whether it was the sudden shift to remote learning brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the disruption caused by Australia’s historic floods and bushfires, or the sweeping changes made to the curriculum, it is principals at the rudder, standing resolute, and navigating their schools through these profound challenges.

While every principal wants to be the steady hand guiding their schools through times of change, doing so successfully often depends on whether they’re properly equipped to have the maximum impact on teaching and learning.

On 25 February, a new non-profit organisation, Science of Teaching and Learning Australia (STLA), will be launched in Sydney.

The STLA will promote research-aligned teaching practices for all educators in Australia by hosting conferences and professional learning events around Australia and promoting excellence in the profession through an awards ceremony each year, based on the Science of Learning.

At the organisation’s upcoming conference, themed ‘What does it take to lead change in High Impact Instruction?’ several keynote speakers will share their insights on this important question.

One of them is Daisy Christodoulou, director of No More Marking, a UK-based organisation who work with over 2,000 schools in the UK, Australia and the US.

At the conference, she’ll explore what cognitive science tells us about the relationship between knowledge and skills and how No More Marking have used Comparative Judgement and Artificial Intelligence to develop a new model of writing instruction and assessment.

“In a world of smartphones, search engines and AI chatbots, plenty of people will argue that we don’t need to teach knowledge anymore and that higher order 21st century skills are what schools should be worrying about – but this isn’t true,” Christodoulou told The Educator.

“Cognitive science shows us that we can’t outsource basic knowledge to the cloud. We need knowledge in long term memory to be able to think critically, solve problems and reason sensibly.”

Christodoulou said that in order for our students to grapple with complex higher order problems, they cannot “leapfrog” more fundamental skills.

“New technology will help us not by replacing the need to know anything but by making the process of committing knowledge to memory more fun and efficient.”