Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thinking about Leadership

I was really interested by the video, Leadership Lessons From the Dancing Guy. The idea that the first person to follow someone doing something that may at first seem strange and crazy, turns that crazy person into a leader, is a fascinating idea. I think using dancing as an illustration is a great way to make that point, because that frequently happens with dancing. Someone has to have the guts to get up and dance first, and then in others join in that first person becomes the leader, the one who started the party instead of some crazy dancer. While I like how this lesson about leadership is presented in a different way and speaks to me in terms of differentiation and approaching lessons in new ways, I really like what it says about leadership in education. In order for change to happen in the world of education you need a few things to happen. You need someone to stand up first, to have the guts to suggest the change. Then you need the first follower to make it ok for others to join in. In the scope of this class, the change we have been talking about is bringing technology into the classroom. So we need to find who will be the leaders in bringing technology into classrooms, and who will be the followers. Because as is shown in this video, the followers are just as important as the leader, since without the followers, the leader is just one crazy person dancing on the grass. Plus to take this metaphor even further, the leader can learn from his/her followers, that first leader who got everyone dancing can learn new moves watching the followers, and make his/her leadership even more effective.

When thinking about leadership in education, one of the great places for leaders to be born and supported is in professional learning communities. I think that since we are talking about technology one great way to have a professional learning community would be to use technology. Having an online forum where teachers and even parents could interact and discuss teaching techniques, best practices and new ways to integrate technology into the classroom, could make a professional learning community even more productive and accessible.


  1. Hey girl!

    I am so excited that you wrote about dancing. In McLean's class we had to differentiate a lesson according to one of the student's interests (you remember, I am sure). I decided to write it about a girl who loved dance or who danced and then had the lesson actually taught through dance moves. For example, each work or whatever would be a dance move. It gets the kids moving & they will be motivated & hopefully put the words into their working memory. I remember when I was 12 I used to go to some acting school & we spelled out names out with moves. I still remember how to do mine. I guess it does make an impact. You're a true leader, darling!

  2. I also think that this video was very interesting to watch in relation to an educational topic, inspirational even. I never really considered how important the first followers are to the success of the crazy ideas (technology in education) really are. After watching that video, I now see that all of us in this class are part of the first followers group. We are just entering schools, for the most part, that are already beginning to implement technology. We need to take that a step further and introduce a few new dance moves to what already exists. By beginning to utilize the Web 2.0 tools in our classrooms, we can help others develop these skills and then start a major movement towards helping students learn more through collaboration and critical thinking skills. I think that this was fantastic!

  3. Hi Heather,

    I had never seen that video clip before and thought it was so interesting! It is amazing how a simple three minute clip of a guy dancing could really give so much insight into ideas for educational technology leadership, like you said. I also liked that you mentioned the leader can learn from the followers. It is with this cycle of learning that real progress is made and true collaborative learning communities are formed.

  4. Hi Heather,

    I really enjoyed your post this week! Who thought that a video of a shirtless guy dancing would provide us with so much insight on developing leaders? I too, can relate to your example of how dancing gets started in front of a group. The question is always who is going to join the person, who at one point, may look like a fool for dancing all alone? Even if it feels uncomfortable for those first two people dancing by themselves for the first few moments, in a matter of minutes that feeling of being uncomfortable really doesn't matter because everyone has joined in and blended together. I think sometimes it is more difficult to be the first follower rather than being the first person to stand up and dance alone. However, at the same time I think the first person to stand up also plays a critical role in convincing those around him or her that their actions and ideas are worth exploring and eventually joining. This idea of "joining" and collaborating is really what is going to get the movement to take off and provide its participants with a variety of first hand resources for learning.

  5. Hi Heather,

    Good points on being the first follower! Its definitely an under-appreciated role. As far as professional development goes, I think the internet is a great place to get new ideas, materials, and inspiration for teaching. At the same time, its great to have someone in your school that thinks the same way you do that you can bounce ideas off of. Plus, you can have fun and joke around too.

    While we are on the subject, I had one problem with the video. No one gives credit to Santigold for her groovy tune. You wouldn't see people dancing like that for Explosions in the Sky, who were also playing at Sasquatch festival that day. Cheers!

  6. I am glad you all liked the video--I was wondering what the reaction would be! As you said, you wouldn't normally think of a guy dancing as an inspiration for educational leadership! But it is a good metaphor/analogy for leadership in general. Sometimes it just takes one person who is willing to take a chance to get others motivated too. Some teachers are afraid to use some technology tools or to change their instruction in general because they don't want to make mistakes in front of their students or to look like they are foolish or not "expert" enough. But sometimes, you have to be willing to take chances, and if you do and have success or inspire your students' learning, than others will be willing to jump in to because of your willingness to be a leader. Go for it!