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School Leaders: 14 Tips for Success in the 21st Century

School Leaders: 14 Tips for Success in the 21st Century

You’re passionate about empowering 21st Century learners. You want to prepare young people for their future, not ours. You want to be a great School Leader and you know that leading schools is exciting, challenging, purposeful, rewarding and also very difficult.

Here are some strategic tips to make sure you drive your school into the future and develop students who are resilient, creative, compassionate and entrepreneurial global citizens.

  1. Make sure you, your teachers and your students have a ‘growth mindset’ not a ‘fixed mindset’. World-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, has conducted decades of research on achievement and success to discover the power of our mindset. A growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is the basis for all success.
  2. Be the “lead learner” as leadership expert, Professor Michael Fullan, says. Focus on core learning priorities and lead the school’s teachers in a process of learning to improve their teaching, while learning alongside them about what works and what doesn’t. This is the kind of demonstrated skill that will prepare you as a candidate for an international school leadership role, or equivalent.
  3. Capture the hearts and minds of your teachers as Dr. Julia Aitkin suggests and help them be better teachers by ensuring values and vision drive the teaching practice in your school.
  4. Develop high performing teams and professional learning communities to improve teaching and learning. Dr. Robert Marzano and Professor John Hattie both agree that the Professional Learning Community, PLC, concept is a powerful initiative for school improvement.
  5. Use Dr. Yong Zhao’s  ideas and empower students to be resourceful, flexible, creative, to think like entrepreneurs and develop global partners and resources to succeed in our ever-changing world. Try to think of ways you can make strategic changes into international education if you work in that environment, but remember that change is going to start with you.
  6. Take the time to conduct an informal audit of your school. Stroll around the buildings and visit the classrooms. If you note classrooms and practices that were in place when you went to school, then it’s time to think about some innovation and change. All students currently in school are Gen Z and Gen Alpha kids. They are more intelligent, more globally aware and more technologically savvy than any previous generations. They are global change agents! Get a team together and plan some actions, both short and long-term, to adopt a 21st Century learning framework and create innovative, flexible 21st Century learning spaces.
  7. Connect with others around the world using social media. Be a role model and encourage teachers and students to use George Couros’ ideas on tweets and blogs for students. Be a blogger and a tweeter yourself! It’s a great way to be a reflective action-based learner.
  8. Become a Compass School to make sure sustainability and mindfulness are embedded into your curriculum.
  9. Make the time to learn from the experts. Attend conferences that push your thinking out of the box. I’ve attended the International Conference on Thinking ICOT several times and have always found it inspirational and have personally met great thinkers like Edward de Bono, Howard Gardner, David Perkins and Peter Senge who have given me different perspectives and new knowledge to solve problems more effectively.
  10. Think Strategically! Focus on the important, not the urgent. This is the age of distraction. Use Professor Douglas Reeve’s research on the forgotten 21st Century skill, Focus. Ask yourself, is it time to create an innovative 21st Century strategic plan for your school?
  11. Remember to take care of you! Take responsible actions to ensure you are healthy and fit in mind, body and soul. Many people depend on you and you can’t lead anyone if you can’t lead yourself.
  12. Attend the latest Think Strategic ‘Leadership for the 21st Century’ workshop to explore and improve your 21st Century Leadership capabilities.
  13. If it is not possible for you to attend the ‘Leadership for the 21st Century’ workshop, contact Maxine at Think Strategic to organise a school-based workshop for your team. She is available to inspire and empower at your school or network.
  14. If you would like assistance to create an innovative 21st Century Strategic Plan for your school contact Maxine at Think Strategic for Schools.

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