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Principals Diary

Impress your management with the task list in principals diary. An Exclusive Diary especially designed for Principals / Directors / Head of Schools / Coordinators / HOD's

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September 2018
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  1. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 25 – What is a “Learning Organization”?

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    What is a “Learning Organization”?

     

    The word “learning” was coined in the 1980s to describe organizations that experimented with new ways of conducting business in order to survive in turbulent, highly competitive markets (see Argyris and Schon 1996; also Senge 1990). Table 1 presents the characteristics that define the learning organization, and the positive results accruing to individuals and the organization or culture as a whole when they are present. Two characteristics are individual; three are group-based. The characteristics listed in Table 1 are general qualities that exist within a learning culture. However, there are concrete cognitive and behavioral tools, as well as specific types of social interaction and structural conditions, that improve the chances that these qualities are achieved and sustained over time. These are the “best practices” listed in Table 1. While not an exhaustive list, the ones listed in Table 1 fall under four main categories:

    • communication and openness;
    • inquiry and feedback;
    • adequate time; and
    • mutual respect and support.

    Communication and openness involve both self-reflection (i.e., being honest with oneself about a situation) and participatory reflection (i.e., pushing the group to clarify and evaluate the assumptions underlying how work gets done within the organization). It also involves communication that flows as much from the bottom of a hierarchy to the top as vice-versa. Inquiry allows individuals to become adept at questioning things as a normal course of their work. It encourages people to take risks in improving aspects of their work. Positive feedback involves activities that are designed to let people learn from their inquiries, to build a personal knowledge base that is defined by proactive rather than reactive or defensive thinking. It involves those with more experience helping those with less experience understand not just the “right” way to do things, but what can be learned from doing things the “wrong” way. Communication, reflection, feedback, flexibility, and inquiry all depend upon individuals having adequate time to engage themselves and others in meaningful dialogue and brainstorming. Finally, mutual respect and support involves treating co-workers, supervisors, and employees equally and consistently with respect to one’s ability to contribute positively to the organization, regardless of where that person is located in the organizational hierarchy.

    Table 1. Characteristics of a Learning Organization and Associated Best Practices *

    Characteristic Definition Associated Best Practices Positive Byproducts
    Self mastery- individual The ability to honestly and openly see reality as it exists; to clarify one’s personal vision 1.Positive reinforcement from role models/managers
    2.Sharing experiences
    3.More interaction time between supervisory levels
    4.Emphasis on feedback
    5.Balance work/non-work life
    Greater commitment to the organization and to work; less rationalization of negative events; ability to face limitations and areas for improvement; ability to deal with change
    Mental models – individual The ability to compare reality or personal vision with perceptions; reconciling both into a coherent understanding 1.Time for learning
    2.Reflective openness
    3.Habit of inquiry
    4.Forgiveness of oneself
    5.Flexibility/adaptability
    Less use of defensive routines in work; less reflexivity that leads to dysfunctional patterns of behavior; less avoidance of difficult situations
    Shared vision – group The ability of a group of individuals to hold a shared picture of a mutually desirable future 1.Participative openness
    2.Trust
    3.Empathy towards others
    4.Habit of dissemination 5.Emphasis on cooperation
    6.A common language
    Commitment over compliance, faster change, greater within group trust; less time spent on aligning interests; more effective communication flows
    Team learning – group The ability of a group of individuals to suspend personal assumptions about each other and engage in “dialogue” rather than “discussion” 1.Participative openness 2.Consensus building
    3.Top-down and bottom-up communication flows;
    4.Support over blame;
    5.Creative thinking
    Group self-awareness; heightened collective learning; learning “up and down” the hierarchy; greater cohesiveness; enhanced creativity
    Systems thinking – group The ability to see interrelationships rather than linear cause-effect; the ability to think in context and appreciate the consequences of actions on other parts of the system 1.Practicing self mastery
    2.Possessing consistent mental models
    3.Possessing a shared vision
    4.Emphasis on team learning
    Long-term improvement or change; decreased organizational conflict; continuous learning among group members; Revolutionary over evolutionary change

    * Adapted from the work of Senge (1990), Argyris and Schon (1996), Argyris (1991), and Schon (1983).

    Bindu Sharma

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  2. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 24 – Mindful Teaching

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    One of the primary functions of the human brain is pattern recognition. The brain comes into existence seeking out patterns—categories—in our environment. One of the earliest bits of categorization in which a human infant engages is distinguishing between what is me and what is not me. Later, the patterns/categories are... Comment
  3. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 23 – Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children

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    Together We Learn Better: Inclusive Schools Benefit All Children The journey to becoming an Inclusive School may be long and challenging at times, but ultimately this journey can strengthen a school community and benefit ALL children.  “Inclusion” does not simply mean the placement of students with disabilities in general education... Comment
  4. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 19 – Challenges in Inclusive Education and Service Provisions

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      Research Paper   Challenges in Inclusive Education and Service Provisions: Policies and Practices in Indian Context   Deepshikha Singh Research Scholar NUEPA         National University of Educational Planning and Administration New Delhi   Abstract Many national as well as international programmes have attempted to reach out... Comment
  5. Volume 2 Month 5 Day 18 – Mid Day Meal

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    The Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a popular school-meal programme in India. It involves provision of lunch free of cost to school-children on all working days. The key objectives of the programme are: ·         protecting children from classroom hunger ·         increasing school enrolment and attendance ·         improved socialization among children belonging... Comment

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