Game Changers | Learn | Future Schools
Schools around the world are increasingly developing a much sharper understanding of why culture matters, and as leaders, we must drive that process. The renowned management expert, Peter Drucker, was supposed to have said once that “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While Drucker never actually confirmed whether he did in fact say this as part of a private conversation, what we can glean from the intent was that any rusted-on culture will destroy the impact of any strategy, unless alignment of vision, intent, and means are achieved. In other words, without good culture, there’s little point emphasising strategy. They must work hand in hand.
So what is the proper culture of a future school? And how can we achieve this type of alignment? Decision-making practice evaluative standards can reveal to us much about the underlying structure of school culture
Let’s start by thinking about the norms of decision-making in such a school – how people habitually make decisions can tell us much about the culture. The qualities of such a process tell us whether the normal life of a school is genuinely representative of the growth-minded change culture that typifies future schools. From what we see in our work with hundreds of schools internationally, there are typically five qualities that can be identified in how future schools go about working out what to do:
Schools around the world are increasingly developing a much sharper understanding of why culture matters, and as leaders, we must drive that process.
Perhaps it all comes down to a disposition to ask questions that challenge the status quo. So what are the right questions to ask of culture?
CIRCLE's ongoing research project into the character of excellent schools with the Association of Boys’ Schools of New Zealand over recent years can also provide us with insight into the right questions to ask about culture.
School character, climate and culture: The whole work of schools in developing competency in civic, performance, and moral character.
Leadership of the educational program: The progress of schools in constructing, disseminating, and convincing their communities to subscribe to a compelling narrative of yesterday, today and tomorrow
Teacher effectiveness in growing the “whole person”: The learning journey of schools in building the adaptive expertise and self-expertise of staff in pursuit of high standards in fulfilling their missions and attaining their graduate outcomes
Student educational experience and outcomes: The culture of schools that asks good questions to produce good answers to multi-dimensional problems about how best to deliver an education for 21C character and competency
Strategic and operational alignment: The preferred future of schools with fit for purpose strategic thinking and implementation
Teacher professionalism in a community of inquiry and practice: The knowledge engines of schools that focus on improved student outcomes that are linked directly to graduate outcomes and their related competencies
The culture of Future Schools depends on the proclivity towards inquiry. In our research, we can see that making decisions and reviewing standards where asking the right questions and pursuing excellence in answering them is at the heart of a growth-minded change culture. It is how we best model and teach all of the competencies our students need to thrive in their world.