Thursday, 13 August 2015

On being the Head Learner

While studying for my masters in education studies from the university of Bangor, Wales, i was fascinated by what Tony Elliot , had to teach us.Tony took our classes for education leadership.

And what he taught was so far removed from the scenario in Indian schools, that i wondered if i will ever be able to find someone like  minded. As for myself, this is the vision of the school leader i was always comfortable with. in Tony i found a teacher who taught me a leadership style , yet unknown .However, as Tony writes in his book, "The fourth way", this is the path to strive for.Especially if you want to make sense to the new generation.

So, who is the one who is termed principal, head, sometimes even manager? what exactly is he the head of? he is the principal what? Many would say that he is the principal teacher or, administrator or, both. The management then, rolls out a persona who is a kind of a Hercules faced with numerous tasks , much of which he is unable to do and most of it is done by others anyway.

I have been accused of not being comfortable in this role and i plead guilty. For, Tony gave me the answer sometime ago. The way forward is the "head learner". This person is the head learner .Thus he learns and keeps the wheels of the knowledge machine truly well oiled and moving. What are the connotations of  this term?

It doesn't merely mean updating your knowledge ,of course. It means that the decision making in an educational institution should be with someone who is full of curiosity, is able to come up with different methodologies, can build up a team of enthusiastic teachers and learners. The main point in this argument is that the learner should get utmost importance in the learning situation. So, the institution should be headed by the "head learner" who can engage the students, understand their aspirations and lead them into creative learning situations.

Honing yourself to be the head learner is a difficult task. As Matt Ridley writes in his book,"the autobiography of the human genome", chromosome 19 is a mischievous genome. maybe, we could be making a genetic profile of the head learner keeping this genome in mind.But , are you surprised at the fact that genomes may have a personality?

Well, if it feeds your curiosity and you find this incredible itch to share this with your students, instead of scolding them or shutting up their questions, welcome to the club .... of head learners.

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