Senior Education Improvement Leaders (SEILs) are learning effective skills to tackle tough conversations while simultaneously maintaining trust with principals through the Open-to-Learning™ (OTL™) Leadership course at the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership (Bastow).
‘[SEILs]need to be able to have good quality conversations with the principals that they are working with, and when those conversations are about difficulties at the school, trouble with parents, teachers who are apparently not performing well enough, drops in enrolment, loss of confidence, those sorts of messages and those sorts of issues are really hard to talk about,’ said Viviane Robinson, Distinguished Professor in the
School of Learning, Development and Professional Practice, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland and facilitator of the OTL™ course at Bastow.
OTL™ integrates three key values – maximizing valid information, demonstrating respect for self and others, and building internal commitment – into a rubric for conversations and for assessing situations in schools. SEILs work in clusters of up to 25 schools, and so must be across situations and develop strong working relationships with all principals in their cluster.
SEILs who recently attended an OTL™ assessment course at Bastow said that they are focussing on building skills to have those challenging conversations and work collaboratively with the principals in their cluster.
Jane Mersey, SEIL for the south eastern Victoria cluster, which covers inner Gippsland and South Gippsland, noted the quality of the preparatory readings and the instruction as support in the role.
‘I want all the support that I can get in undertaking this role,’ she said. ‘The reading has been quite interesting in terms of the theory of action and the modes of operation, [it] made me think quite deeply about myself and how one is perceived and if that is actually how you want to be perceived.’
Shane Wainwright, SEIL for the inner Gippsland West cluster, said that the course is adding value in terms of building the quality of the conversations with principals and leadership teams and building relational trust in an efficient and effective manner.
‘One of the key parts of the SEIL role is those conversations with principals and leadership,’ Wainright said. ‘As a SEIL, you’re coming in, often you have an appointment for a block of time, an hour, hour and a half, two hours, and you have to make that time count. It’s that ability to have really constructive and high-impact conversations and do high impact work.’
For more information on the course: