A Principal of Change – An Interview with George Couros

Originally posted -http://bit.ly/jwGKzg

 

I’m always interested in reading about educators who are trying to make a difference. I read a lot of blogs that teachers write, but I had never seen a principal with a blog until I discovered The Principal of Change by George Couros. George is a principal at a school in Stony Plain, Alberta. What’s striking about his blog is that he writes very openly about a vision for education reform, leadership, technology in the classroom and many other topics.

I wanted to get his perspective on the state of education and he kindly agreed to share his thoughts.

Tell us about ‘The Principal of Change’ blog and what has inspired you to do it?

The truth is that I actually just wanted to create a blog/portfolio sample that I could share with my staff and students.  We were looking at doing something with students and I thought that if I was going to expect staff and students to implement this, I better lead by example.  What I found powerful was the continuous learning and reflection that came out of the opportunity to write.  It has been a great opportunity to be an open learner.

What has brought you into the field of education? What interests you the most about it?

My family worked in the restaurant business for years and it was never about food; it was always about people.  As educators, we are truly in the “people business” and it is great to interact with so many interesting people in a daily basis.

How has education evolved since you started in this profession? (if at all).

What I have noticed in my time in education is there has been more of a willingness to share with colleagues in your own division.  If we are really going to further education, this openness needs to transfer on a global scale.  Best ideas, no matter where they come from, are imperative to our students.

 

What type of technologies are you using in your school right now? and what would you like to implement in the future?

We are using Google Apps and Word Press to create portfolios.  In the long term, I would hope that we could really go deep with the learning in these tools and have students decide the technology they are going to use to become creators of content.  There is too much to use in our world right now, so we really have to focus on meaningful and deep.

 

Do you think Canadian education needs reform? and if so what should be done?

I think that all education needs to progress.  We ask our students to get better everyday, so we should role model that continuous focus on learning and improvement.  Our schools should become communities of learning, where we are all in that role.

There still seems to be a lot of barriers to adopting new technologies into classrooms. Do you agree? and if so where do you see the biggest barriers?
The biggest barrier for many is access.  If we really want to help our kids, especially the ones that come from lower income situations, we have to be able to AT LEAST provide them access at school.  My dream is that we ensure students have access at home and school.  Preparing our students for their future is imperative to help break the cycle of poverty that many families deal with.

 

Where do you see education going in the next five years?

I don’t know what schools will look like.  All I know is that as long as we teach our students to “learn to learn”, we will be good.  I would love to see the educator that predicted five years ago that we would be using iPads and ipods in the classroom.  This is something that we can’t predict.  What we can do is empower our school communities to be adaptable and to continue to learn.  We need to embrace change.

Is there anything that you’re working on, or you know that colleagues are working on, that you think has a lot of promise for education?

I think that my work with Connected Principals to help build leadership that understands the power of networking with others to better the opportunities for students is something that will really continue to grow.  It is a way that we can not only learn from other administrators, but that we can be open, transparent, and connect with all educators.  We will do better if we all work together.

Thanks so much George! Keep up the good work with your students and the blog.


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