Running head: innovation and leadership enabling Innovation: An Imperative for Meeting 21

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Enabling Innovation: An Imperative for Meeting 21st Century Challenges in Education

Dr. Peggy Moch

Valdosta State University, USA

Dr. Dorothy Andrews

University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Dr. Jodi Nickel

Mount Royal University, Canada

Dr. Bonni Cohen

Valdosta State University, USA

Dr. Sonya Sanderson

Valdosta State University, USA

Dr. Joan Conway

University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Dr. Dianne Yee

Calgary Board of Education, Canada

Dr. Andra McGinn

Calgary Catholic School District, Canada

Dr. Clelia Pineda Báez

University of La Sabana, Colombia

Dr. Cheryl Bauman

University of Southern Queensland, Australia

Dr. Shelleyann Scott

University of Calgary

Dr. Donald Scott

University of Calgary

Dr. Elaine Fournier

University of Calgary


(Prepared by Dr. Peggy Moch and Dr. Dorothy Andrews)

Innovation, at its core, is the simple (and sometimes not so simple) act of doing things differently. Moreover, in the school setting, innovation is the teacher doing things differently, taking risks, at the grassroots level in the delivery of curriculum in the classroom. For this innovation platform to be workable, administrators must likewise be willing to do things differently, to take risks, as they support and sustain a culture where innovation can flourish. This innovative culture is nurtured by professionalism and professional learning.

The foundation for teacher professionalism needs to be value based, where the aspects of professionalism are identified as:

(1) to advance the well-being of their clients [in the field of education this would be the students]; (2) to bear a responsibility for the institutional arrangements where they work (which is not the case with other experts); and (3) to discuss among their colleagues how to perform their duties. (Torstendahl, 2005, p. 949)

Teachers then need to independently and collaboratively solve the perplexing problems they face within the classroom environment as they navigate the complex environments of their schools. This cooperation between and among teachers provides the underpinnings of the domain for professional learning.

In 1994, Peter Drucker heralded in the age of social transformation claiming we were in times where constant change had become the norm. It has taken some time to embrace this claim, but more than ever educators embrace the challenges of the era, and live up to Terry Wrigley’s claim that we can “fulfil our dreams of a better education and a better world” (2006, p.11). In the arena of education, this means principals and teachers have to create new ways of doing things. They need to work together and learn from each other. In order to make sense of the entropy within our social structures and to not stagnate, teachers and principals must adopt and embrace an innovative mindset. Principals need to encourage, nurture, and enable this innovative culture thereby providing an environment where teachers are willing to take risks and one where innovation can be sustained. If the principal provides their teachers with a suitable environment for innovation, the synergistic outcome fosters not only continued professional learning, but teacher leadership as well.

A social construct developed within the school setting allowing for the leadership of learning for innovation and change creates a knowledge generating activity among participating teachers. Teacher leadership is then fostered through the principals, creating new pathways for working together, solving problems, and dynamically providing for the needs of the school and potentially the larger surround, that is, the community at large. The synergistic effect created by teachers being empowered to be innovative leaders in their classrooms, the school, and their communities has an unbounded potential (Crowther & Associates, 2011; Lambert, 2007; Murphy, 2005).

Thus, innovation and leadership – both principals and teacher leaders – are inextricably linked and a necessity for the school that wishes to provide the best possible education for the students within the communities they serve. Principals and teachers must be willing to take risks to model for future generations how to think more globally, to be better problem solvers, and to generally become better citizens and leaders themselves. Today’s principals and teachers need to be innovative, to be creative, and to try to do things differently.


(Prepared by Dr. Peggy Moch, Dr. Jodi Nickel, Dr. Bonni Cohen and Dr. Sonya Sanderson)

The innovation sub-committee deliberated about the definition of innovation and particularly how innovation has been incorporated into education by teachers and what it looks like in the classroom. As a group we felt innovation was in many instances making connections between and among objects and tools such that they motivated and enhanced the learning process for students.

The breadth and depth of the topic of innovation does not always mean something being done is new to the profession or education, but may be new and empowering to the person employing the innovation. As such, our group thought discipline based inquiry might be an appropriate framework for capturing the key ideas for innovative design in education paraphrased from a document obtained from the Galileo Educational Network (2000-2014). Certainly this is not the only way to think about doing or creating innovative lessons for any given discipline, but for our purposes, it provides a starting point for sparking discussion and for igniting ideas related to innovation.

The innovation seminar did not receive as much activity as hoped for coming at the end of the seminar series. In general, the comments received from participants were favorable with regard to the potential for the use of the innovations either in a classroom setting or as examples of what might be done for education majors. We hope to generate more feedback during the face-to-face conference during the poster and panel sessions. In the meantime, however, our planning discussions and the online contributions that were received made it clear that innovation in education can be considered in several important ways.

First, as we mentioned in the beginning, an innovation does not need to be a new construct. Rather, it can be content delivered in unusual ways that engage nontraditional groups of learners. Second, it can be programming or customized learning that is accessible at unconventional times and in unique venues. Third, innovation can focus on familiar content, but facilitate skill development that normally is not associated with that content. Fourth, innovation can take the form of intercultural learning that promotes cultural literacy and principled and socially responsive decision making. Fifth, innovation in teaching and learning can result from collaborating with unconventional community partners. Done well, innovation in the classroom and community can result in learners who are able to use critical analysis skills to consider what society might be and then contribute to the sustenance of that civil society. Finally, we observed that educational innovation is a fragile construct in its conceptualization, development, and sustainability. As such administrative leadership in tandem with classroom teachers need to collaborate in order to promote a culture where innovation can be supported and encouraged.

One construct for innovation is to assess the quality of the learning experience according to the principles of inquiry-based learning. These principles were elucidated by one of our conference keynote speakers, Amy Park, who provided inspiring examples of these principles in local classrooms. The Galileo Network where Amy is a mentor asks teachers to use the Inquiry Rubric to judge the degree to which their learning experiences align with these principles.


  • The scope of the study emanates from a question, problem, issue or exploration that is significant to the discipline(s) and the community locally, provincially, nationally or globally; is meaningful and relevant to students; and is mapped to the mandated curriculum.

  • The assignments, activities, and tasks within the study require students to engage with diverse ideas creating a dynamic environment in which contrasts, competition, and complementarity of ideas is evident, creating a rich environment for ideas to evolve into new and more refined forms.

Academic rigor

  • The assignments, activities, and tasks within the study requires students to engage in ways of knowing that are central to the discipline(s) that underpin the problem, issue or question and students find academically, intellectually, and personally challenging.

  • The assignments, activities, and tasks within the study require students to develop and apply habits of mind that encourage them to ask questions of:

    • evidence (how do we know what we know?)

    • viewpoint (who is speaking?)

    • pattern and connection (what causes what?)

    • supposition (how might things have been different?)

    • why it matters (who cares?)

Assessment sponsors deep learning and improved instruction

  • Assessment is dynamic and embedded, guiding students’ learning and teachers’ instruction through which students have multiple opportunities to improve their work based on specific feedback, as well as contribute to the learning of their peers.

  • Students understand the desired goal; have evidence about their present position in relation to that goal, and guidance on the way to close the gap between the two becoming owners of their own learning.

  • The assignments, activities and tasks provide multiple opportunities for students to reflect on their learning.

Adds value beyond the school

  • The assignments, activities, and tasks students are asked to undertake are recognizable to those working within the discipline(s), i.e., someone working within the discipline(s) or profession might actually tackle a similar question, problem or exploration and it addresses curriculum.

  • Assignments, activities, and tasks require students to contribute knowledge, products or services to their community (locally, provincially, nationally, and/or globally).

Students learn with digital technologies

  • Digital technologies are used in ways that mirror their use in the discipline(s), the world beyond the school, and extend, expand, and deepen student learning.

Students engage in active exploration

  • Assignments, activities, and tasks require students to develop knowledge through the ways of working that are central to the discipline (i.e. field work, labs, interviews, studio work, construction, working with complex problems, etc.) to negotiate a fit between personal ideas and the ideas of others.

Connecting with expertise

  • Students engage with experts and professionals beyond the classroom to deepen their understanding and improve their performance and product.

  • The teacher designs opportunities for students to improve their work as a result of connecting with experts/expertise.

Elaborated forms of communication

  • Students have opportunities and are expected to engage in idea improvement; mirroring the work of disciplined thinkers in gathering and weighing evidence, and ensuring that explanations cohere with all available evidence.

  • Assignments, activities, and tasks require students to communicate their learning with audiences appropriate to the discipline.

  • Forms of communication meet school requirements and effectively reflect those used in the discipline. (Galileo Network, 2016)

Although the Galileo Network mainly uses these principles to support K-12 learners, the principles are relevant to all learners including our teacher candidates. Teacher education must model strong pedagogy if we hope that our prospective teachers might one day apply these principles in their own classrooms. Teacher educators should surely engage their teacher candidates in innovative learning experiences that comply with these inspiring principles.

Inquiry-based learning is based upon a strong foundation of constructivist learning principles (Dewey, 1938; Vygotsky, 1978; Wells, 2001). It is also informed by work in the learning sciences (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000) which describes the learning environments that support deep learning.

Innovation thus becomes a critical and integral part of the 21st century learning environment in a multitude of diverse methods with the singular goal of enhancing and deepening student understanding of content. Problem solving, reasoning and proof, connections, representations and communication are considered to be best practice for delivery of mathematics content in the PK-12 classroom (NCTM, 2000), providing yet another framework for the delivery of innovative curriculum. This framework and the Galileo framework are but two examples of best practice that can be expanded to encompass a broad brush stroke of the PK-12 curriculum. The goal here then is to engage and enlighten students in ways that make curriculum purposeful and connected for the student and the teacher in non-traditional or atypical ways. The culture to support this endeavor must be supported by all stake holders, administrators and teachers, in order to establish a sustainable innovative school environment.
Teacher Professionalism

(Prepared by Dr. Shelleyann Scott, Dr. Donald Scott and Dr. Elaine Fournier)

Teacher professionalism is a ubiquitous term that is used in many different ways, contexts, and to describe or advocate for a plethora of teacher attitudes and behaviors, and yet there is no consensus or even an educational definition surrounding this concept. For the purposes of this discussion forum we drew upon some older definitions of a profession and professionals offered by Parsons (1968, cited in Sciulli, 2009). In defining professionals and professionalism Parsons indicated that …professions and professionals uniquely bear fiducial responsibilities, an impersonal trust. In the case of practicing professionals, this typically manifests itself in taking responsibility for client wellbeing [in our profession of education, this translates to students] … professionals adopt a ‘service orientation’ … (pp. 20-21) rather than acting in their own self-interest. Torstendahl (2005) complemented Parsons’ definition with the following additional criteria for professions, where he identified three aspects of professionalism: (1) to advance the well-being of their clients [in the field of Education this would be the students]; (2) to bear a responsibility for the institutional arrangements where they work (which is not the case with other experts); and (3) to discuss among their colleagues how to perform their duties (p. 249). He also noted that conceptualizations of a profession and professionalism may exhibit differently across cultures.

We explored teacher professionalism at the macro and micro levels, where macro indicates the system or societal level and micro entails at the individual teachers, classroom and student level, or as engagement at the student desk which also included considerations of inclusion, effective assessment, and engagement in learning.

Professionalism at the macro level

The construct of professionalism at the macro level raised a number of interesting questions. For example,

    • How important is professionalism to the maintenance of successful democratic civil societies?

    • How important is it for society to recognise teacher professionalism? And how can this be promoted?

    • In what ways can teachers demonstrate their professionalism at a system level?

    • Can teacher associations mandate teacher professionalism and what are the implications of attempting this?

Unfortunately, many teachers resist engaging in public debates surrounding education at the macro level. This may be due to government regulations surrounding corporate loyalty that restrict teachers’ engagement in political debates which play out in the media, or may be due to the influence of teachers’ associations and unions which prefer to manage these debates for teachers, or it may be because teachers are overloaded with their day-to-day classroom matters and have no time to engage with societal discussions about education. However, whatever the reason it would be useful for teachers to engage with educational issues that inevitably become quasi-associated with notions of professionalism.

Engagement with these issues and being able to demonstrate balanced and informed perspectives is a measure of a professional. This means leaders and teachers should endeavor to develop multi-dimensional thinking, that is, being able to understand and respect the perspectives of all educational stakeholders in order to productively engage with these for the benefit of young people (Webber & Scott, 2012). Multi-dimensional thinking frees educators from blindly following the dictates of one particular stakeholder group who wishes to paternalistically guide their understandings of current issues and frees them to become constructive disruptors to innovate and engage in proactive change for the benefit of students (Webber & Scott, 2013).

Professionalism at the micro level

At the micro level we raised questions around how teachers could engage in defining professionalism and how that could influence their workplace approaches and attitudes. We also explored how important professionalism was in relation to student engagement:

    • Is there a consensus about what teacher professionalism entails and should this be debated by teachers for teachers’ own purposes?

    • Can teachers demand to be perceived as professionals due to their expertise or do they need to earn this moniker? And if so, how?

    • In what ways can teachers demonstrate their professionalism in the classroom?

Also at the micro context, we examined professionalism in relation to how teachers engage students in learning. We drew upon Marks’ (2000) definition of student engagement as: “the attention, interest, investment, and effort students expend in the work of learning” (p. 155).

Many teachers are faced with students who have special needs, including those who have not necessarily been formally identified, so our understanding of inclusion has to be broader than previously conceptualized. We must also consider the needs of students who are multilingual, aboriginal, and those who are gifted and talented to ensure all students’ needs are met within the general classroom environment. Frequently students are physically included but emotionally excluded, hence inclusion must mean that students are involved in a common enterprise rather than simply being under the same roof. Additionally, as student engagement is largely influenced by assessment practices we need to consider teacher assessment practices as a device for motivation and engagement.

Assessment for learning (Stiggins, Arter, Chappuis, & Chappuis, 2005), that is, providing useful and constructive feedback, as well as focusing on assessment as learning (Earl & Katz, 2006) that fosters independent learners was identified as important within the assessment regime of a ‘professional’ educator. One key area of assessment which is frequently overlooked and undervalued is authentic assessment. Authentic assessment should also include real life problems, with the option for multi-steps, and the use of portfolios can be a useful ‘authentic’ tool (Luongo-Orlando, 2003; Moon, Brighton, Callahan, & Robinson, 2005).

Inquiry can also serve as a form of authentic assessment encompassing “a dynamic process of understanding the world in genuine ways”, a process for posing questions, problems or issues, the need to gather information and think creatively about possibilities, the need to become proficient in providing evidence, making decisions, justifying conclusions, and the need to build a deeper understanding (Friesen, 2016, p. 142). Hence, if teachers are to be considered professionals they must focus on their instructional and assessment approaches to enable all in their classes to be engaged, and to use assessment as an important motivating device that will not only reveal information about student outcomes but also encourage students to learn from their assessment tasks and become more independent and engaged learners. Unfortunately, many preservice programs do not provide sufficient background for teachers to emerge with a comprehensive range of instructional and assessment strategies, therefore, teachers as professionals will need to continue their professional learning to expand their instructional and assessment repertoire and to deeply understand their craft (Scott, Webber, Aitken, & Lupart, 2011).

Professionalism therefore is an important construct for both teachers and leaders and should be defined by educators for the education context. Defining professionalism would enable teachers to perceive the importance of their work, their professional learning, and their engagement with their colleagues for the benefit of their students. It may also enable leaders and teachers to work more coherently and productively together rather than perceiving disturbing and disruptive differences between these two educational roles. Ultimately, it may also enable society to perceive teaching as a desirable, important, and pivotal profession, one that is responsible for growing the potential of our youth for productive and fulfilling futures.
Professional Learning

(Prepared by Dr. Joan Conway, Dr. Dianne Yee and Dr. Andra McGinn)

Grappling with meaning and distinction between, professional learning and professional development was initially the focus of the pre-conference seminar which then led to shared insights about how different perspectives contribute to understandings about professional learning as the outcome of professional development action.

Each of the authors presented a specific focus that included questions to provoke the discussions:

  1. An explanation of the work of the seminar group resulted in a definition and conditions of Professional Learning, followed by the questions: When have you realized your most effective professional learning experiences?  And, what has been the outcome for you?

  2. A Principal and Assistant Principal perspective prompted the question: How are we able to sponsor meaningful professional learning opportunities across the various roles that exist in our school districts and educational systems?

  3. The perspective of a School Superintendent focused on the valuable role each of the following points plays in Professional Learning: research; literature; conferences; local and global expert speakers; structured and informal opportunities for colleagues and others to collaborate, discuss and share ideas, and the question: What has been the most effective element of your professional learning?

It was determined that professional learning and professional development are closely entwined, but there is a distinction which needs to be reflected in definition. Furthermore, it was suggested that reference to professional learning opportunities needs to highlight the benefits and outcomes of Professional Development where programs/courses/activities can take any number of forms and may be provided, selected or directed, but the Professional Learning is what occurs in relation to the individual’s or group’s engagement in these opportunities.

This led to another key element of discussion regarding how professional learning needs to meet a global expectation and at the same time address the needs of a specific local experience or community (Stoll, Bolam, McMahon, Wallace, & Thomas, 2006).  It was the global perspective that prompted the need for a general definition, one that would resonate for all professionals and, specifically, have meaning in any educational setting. These two guiding elements led to a definition:

Professional Learning is active learning sustained over time as individuals/groups choose to engage in activities of a continual, contextual, collaborative, and community-based nature.

With the supportive proposition that Professional Development or Professional Learning opportunities:

  • support an individual’s or group’s authentic learning through study and experience;

  • involve ongoing engagement in identified activities that are essential and embedded in the individual’s or group’s work;

  • support an individual’s specific context and simultaneously reflect a global context of different realities;

  • provide ongoing support and follow-up from appropriate individuals and/or groups; and

  • support the individuals and/or groups to be successful in reaching their goals.

Of significance throughout the seminar discussions was the reflection that any structure of, or approach to professional learning must meet the context of the individual and/or the group of individuals (Timperley, Kaser, & Halbert, 2016). Another common theme was the need for collaboration, and in particular there was reference to the need for schools to collaborate with universities, and vice versa, if professional learning is to be an effective collaborative experience. Much discussion referred to the need for understanding of cultural influences, integration of current realities with long-term vision, and agreement on the desired goal.

Overall, there appeared to be a cohesive approach to understanding that professional learning has to be an essential element of the work life of educators (Forde, McMahon, Hamilton, & Murray, 2016). However, there was also clear indication that for professional learning to be effective it is about relationships, commitment and working together to improve practice, with the following conditions in place:

  • Support of a professional learning community.

  • Opportunity to expand knowledge and understanding.

  • Increased effectiveness in meeting goals.

  • Ability to meet current and future needs.

  • Improved relationship and satisfaction in what we do.

In conclusion, it was proposed that future research might explore further clarification in definition and principles of professional learning from a broader range of contexts; and, a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by educators in realising the benefits of professional learning gained in different contexts. This was a call for collaborative partners to join in taking this research forward into other contexts.
Empowering Teacher Leadership

(Prepared by Dr. Dorothy Andrews, Dr. Clelia Pineda Báez and Dr. Cheryl Bauman)

Empowering Teacher Leadership seminar held prior to the conference stressed that our understanding of leadership practices is paramount in promoting the participation of all members of a school community in the improvement of its education experiences and in the school performance. Conceptions and definitions of leadership frame participation, and particularly the opportunities for teachers to assume leadership roles.

An interesting topic for reflection that emerged from the videos and the postings is the distinction between ‘enabling’ and ‘empowering’ teacher leadership. Empowerment emphasizes the notion of teachers’ agency and autonomy and is understood as providing opportunities for teachers to have a voice in their communities.

A common theme that emerged from the seminar is the need to recognize and nurture the talent and experience of practicing teacher leaders and the potential of prospective ones. In this sense, principals play a key role as they must create supportive environments for teachers to undertake leadership roles. However, such recognition and support should not be limited to the principal, but should embrace all members of a school. This requires emphasizing the notion of ‘leadership work’ that implies team work, collaboration and co-responsibility.

Regarding the qualities of teacher leaders, the postings and videos show that positive personal traits, solid communication and decision-making skills along with a collaborative spirit and appreciation for team work are indispensable conditions to re-create knowledge and to build capacity and sustain school improvement. All in all, teacher leaders’ responsiveness to obstacles and their desire to promote communities of learning will be reflected in the quality of their pedagogical practices and will impact the school positively.

Key aspects:

Teacher leaders are knowledge creators

The leadership function of teacher leaders and the value placed upon it raises the question of how to understand and build upon the relationship between the autonomous nature of classroom teaching and the collaborative roles of teacher leaders within their schools (Conway, 2014). Teachers leading their professional community have the capacity to address local issues and solve local problems. Therefore, a dynamic relationship circular in nature between autonomy and collaboration needs to be present so that effective teacher leaders can create and re-create knowledge all the while focused on the shared vision and purposes of the school community (Bauman, 2014). The principal of the school is a major contributor who effects the nurturing and development of teachers as knowledge creators and leaders within the school organization.

In their research, Andrews and Crowther (2002) conceptualized a distinctive leadership phenomenon involving principals and teacher leaders called parallel leadership. “Parallel leadership is a process whereby teacher leaders and their principals engage in collective action to build capacity. It embodies mutual respect, shared purpose and allowance for individual expression” (p. 155). Parallel leadership is consistent with the current notions of distributed leadership; however, it differs in one fundamental area. Parallel leadership claims that the leadership functions of teacher leaders are equivalent in value to those of principals (Andrews & Crowther, 2002).

Innovative mindset

How can the leadership functions of teachers be viewed as equal in value to those of a principal? The values placed upon leadership are foundational to one’s mindset and leadership needs to be viewed in different ways. Having an innovative mindset and how that relates to the autonomous ME and the collective WE’s view of leadership is essential to developing, nurturing and sustaining teacher leadership (Bauman, 2014). Teachers need to view themselves as leaders, principals need to view teachers as leaders, and the educational system needs to view teachers as leaders. Without this innovative mindset, how can teachers have a voice within the school community?

Having a shift in mindset and defining leadership within the school organizational system is paramount to understanding how teachers need to be encouraged and enabled as leaders by their principals and by the school system. This new innovative mindset of teacher leadership is all about teachers wanting to remain in the teaching profession, all the while developing leadership capacity to further enhance the school improvement process. Viewing teacher leadership as key to school improvement (Harris & Muijs, 2003) explains why teachers must have a voice within the school organization so that their thoughts, ideas and plans can be heard, listened to and understood (Leithwood, Harris, & Strauss, 2010).

Making a way to the life of students

One of the most important features of teacher leaders is their commitment to student well-being. As professionals, teacher leaders focus their efforts on creating appropriate conditions for developing the multi-dimensional facets of students’ lives. One such facet is students’ performance and success that are directly influenced by the conditions teachers and other members of the school community create to stimulate and engage students to learn (Leithwood, Day, Sammons, Hopkins, Harris, 2008). Day, Gu, and Sammons’ (2016) synthesis of research on students’ outcomes and leadership highlights the need to build sustainable opportunities for developing teacher leadership capacity as a way to contribute to student achievement and success. The same authors point out that success is not restricted to measurable outcomes only, but embraces boosting positive values, citizenship and other social outcomes. Teacher leaders are aware of the need to balance pedagogical opportunities for students’ academic success and conditions for their cognitive, social and emotional development.

Challenging existing norms

Teacher leaders are characterized by what Danielson (2007) calls “professional restlessness”. This means that teachers have an inner desire to transform practices, to exercise their influence and responsibility and to assume more challenging roles. Teacher leaders see themselves as being influential in their school systems and strive to have their voices heard and understood. To do so, they create their own spaces for dialogue, seek for opportunities to share their concerns and their experiences and even question their own practices. This highlights the importance of critical reflection, dialogue and the sharing of ideas for collective action. To this respect, Lovett and Andrews (2011) state that “If we can change our conception of leadership from that of a power relationship driven by accountability to one that is more collaborative, student-focused and distributed, then teachers will be more likely to find room for leadership activities” (p. 737).

Teacher leaders call for action based upon their reflective work and critical attitude towards new and old teaching paradigms. They challenge the status quo and work to promote more inclusive and more diverse scenarios for students and for the community where the schools are located. They have a strong sense of authenticity, which is “about understanding, being responsible, and being true to ourselves in relation to the pressures and influences around us” (Cunliffe, 2009, p. 93) and have developed a solid rationale for justice an equity.

Concluding Comments

(Prepared by Dr. Dorothy Andrews and Dr. Peggy Moch)

As Peter Drucker did many years ago, Daniel Pink (2014), a futurist, challenges educators to think in ways that meet today’s societal needs. In the Conceptual Age, what we need is a whole new mind, a society of creators and empathizers, of pattern recognizers and meaning makers. The future worker will require people skills and emotional intelligence; imagination and creativity; skills of expert thinking—solving new problems for which there are no routine solutions and complex communication—persuading, explaining, and in other ways conveying a particular interpretation of information. Further, Hargreaves and Shirley (2009) in their book The Fourth Way emphasised the following:

  • Successful school improvement in 21st century contexts must have a firm moral base;

  • Distributed leadership is essential to school success;

  • School visions must be locally developed, contextually relevant and grounded in values of ‘hopefulness’; and

  • School development, to have sustainable effects, must be undertaken as a long-term process.

Essentially educators need to develop innovative mindsets, they need to be innovative – do things differently.
A Reflection

(Prepared by Dr. Dorothy Andrews and Dr. Peggy Moch)

The proceedings presented are a reflection of the pre-seminar presentation offered prior to the Innovation and Leadership Conference. The aim of each seminar was to provide a series of asynchronous seminars exploring each theme: Innovation, Professionalism, Professional Learning and Empowering Teacher Leadership. Engaging other educators and researchers in the broader community was our aim, however this proved more challenging than we had anticipated. We were disappointed that bloggers did not take up the challenges or discussion topics we posed. However, we did learn later many had visited the site but chose not to post and left us thinking about how we might do it better next time.

The seminars, conference papers and workshops brought together researchers and educators from across the globe: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Colombia, USA, and Canada. We came together in the virtual and real world to explore the themes in Innovation and Leadership. As we explored our understanding of Innovation, Teacher Leadership, Professionalism and Professional Learning we came to realise the issues confronting us in our world were similar even though the contexts changed. We struggled across time zones, accents and using virtual technology – all of which asked us to work differently and to learn from each other adding value to our thinking and finding new understandings on common issues.

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