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Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Sights and Sounds of Learning

Spy novelist John le Carre once opined that it's dangerous to view the world from a seat behind an office desk.

I would agree that a comfortable chair behind a grand desk in the principal's office is not a great vantage point for assessing the atmosphere of a school. I try to be in the office as little as possible. Interacting with staff and learners increases visibility, accessibility, and relationship building. These are all important elements for anyone leading a human service organization.

Walking through the hallways of Molly Stark Elementary School affords me an opportunity to experience signs of teaching and learning. I most assuredly do not station myself outside a classroom to collect information. That's "snoopervision." However, by merely walking along the hall (Tom Peters and Robert Waterman introduced the concept of "Managing by Walking Around" many years ago) I can hear exchanges among teachers and learners as active participants in learning, and see engaged learners who are not merely slouched in their seats as passive receptacles of lectures.

Walking the halls, visiting the lunchroom, attending recess, welcoming children to school each morning and supervising dismissal all provide a reassuring experience.

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