Group Dynamics & the Art of Leadership

Linda Powell


dream:  scheduling the cyber- classes.

A person is smart
People are dumb
1500 years everyone knew the earth was the center of universe
500 years ago everyone knew the earth was flat
15 minutes ago you thought only people were on the earth
Imagine what you will know tomorrow.

                    urgent         not urgent
               |     I         |      II       |
               |    Urgent     |   Not Urgent  | 
   crucial     |  Important    |   Important   |
               |               |               |         
               |     IV        |     III       |      
    not        |    Urgent     |   Not Urgent  | 
  crucial      | Not Important | Not Important |
               |               |               |     

once upon a time there was a man who wished to make a difference.
He went to a meeting of fellow webmasters of the city who
languished and joked about the state of the web in the city. 
Cynicism and despair reigned.  The man joined in easily na d
resented the fact that he could revel in such ineptitude, not of
the teachers but of the system that could garner such disdain for
fellow colleagues and others for whom we felt such superiority
over.  We sat i the room, like on Olympus, determining the
content of 220 high school web pages.  The idea of kids making
their own web pages met with unanimous and immediate negativity. 
What if's sprang from each mouth simultaneously  They were filled
with fear these purveyors of knowledge.  They possessed the
knowledge but didn't want to pas it on.  Oxymoron, power, self

scheduling at school, too, meets with the same cynicism.  Your
know how the system works I am told.  I hear that as an excuse so
as to not do something, I think Ill throw up. Defeated before we
begin.  Out of the box I say.  Think differently.  If it ain't
broke don't fix it say they.  No, say I if it ain't broke fix it,
tweak it.  SOSO scares me.  complacency sets in. Perhaps that is
why I like the Internet so much, I don't give the same
presentation twice, the same class year after year, or write the
same paper.  Always new.

Learning to Love the Swamp:
Reshaping Education for Public Service
Ellen Schall Presidential Address

ref to Peggy McIntosh, Assoc Dir Wellesley College Center for
Research on Women.
Feeling like a Fraud.
freezing on presenting: the trick is to try to hold onto the very
feeling that are giving you the most trouble and trust them to
lead you to some new ground, some new way of seeing or being.

outline not her list was her.
Don't give up, work through them.  They may lead to some of our
best work. SOOOO stay with ideas, rehash them, stir the pot, live
with them.

Swamp is metaphor (shcon's work) for important, complex, and
messy problems that resist technical analysis.  This is of course
opposite to the high hard ground.
more swam than high ground in public service.
problems are: achieving justice, economic, social equity
undoing the effects of racism, enduring that all children are
raised and educated equally.  these are swamp questions.

Must learn to lead in the swamp. To make sense out of the mess.
to do so 3 things:
1. take reflective "thing" seriously.
2. develop new ways to investigate and frame theories
3. invent more ways to teach reflective practice and to prepare
people to learn from own experience.

reflective practice and learning from experience
learning in the midst of rapidly changing and constantly
challenging situations to be self aware, to understand oneself,
to be conscious of the impact of the self on matters. 
Drath and Palus:
1. capacity to understand oneself as individual and a socially
embedded being
2. capacity to understand systems in general and as ever changing
3. capacity to take perspective of another
4. capacity to engage in dialogue

Kolb describes experimental learning as a four-stage process:
1. concrete experience
2. observations and reflections
3. formation of abstract concepts and generalizations
4. testing applications of concepts in new situations

leaders need as big a repertoire of skills as they can amass, but
it will be limited by our shortcomings. leaders fail because they
don't know who they are, how to manage themselves, and how and
when to compensate for what they can't do. 

Case Study:
How could I have been more convincing about my reservations and
predictions of student failure in a program endorsed and
sponsored by the Chancellor of NYC?

How do you do the right thing when your superiors insist on doing
the wrong thing?

I was dismayed when three of my kids failed the NYState English
regents exam in January.  I was not shocked.  The reason for my
seemingly cavalier attitude was that in June of the previous
school year, our school had decided to embark on a new program
called Virtual Enterprise. This new full year double period
course for seniors would serve as a capstone to the members of
this class.  The school is a business magnet public high school
in NYC.  Virtual Enterprise was a central board initiative to
provide an opportunity for students to set up a virtual business
and utilize knowledge from previous business courses to run that
business. I was chosen to run this program because of my computer
skills.  I did not have any of the business capabilities to run
this business correctly so I insisted on a business teacher to
serve as my partner.  I addition the school decided to give the
students a business and English credit.  The thinking on this was
that I was an English teacher and my partner was a business
teacher.  A neat package.  I argued in June that this was not
possible, since I wouldn't be able to provide regular English
instruction to the class as this was not a class, but instead a
business.  To make matters worse the students which were selected
for the class came from the bottom half of the class and more
particularly from the bottom quadrant.  The reason for this I was
told was the class we taught conflicted with our Advanced
placement classes and honors classes.  So a scheduling problem
immediately hamstrung us.  A class which was to serve as a model
of a practice firm, to employ ideals espoused by the SCANS report
and to reflect a new approach to satisfying the new standards was
off to a rocky start.  I expressed my concerns but not convincing
enough.  As September came and went, I expressed my concern that
the students needed additional English help and was merely met
with the patronizing "You're good, you can solve this, Ted.  We
can't do anything about it now that we are into it."  Well, to
cut to the chase, after the January Regents failures, the school
acted.  We added two more English teachers to the class.  Their
sole purpose was to work with the three students and to provide
the needed instruction, I was unable and am unable to provide. 
My duties as Webmaster to the school and my other duties to the
Manhattan superintendency and to the NYC BOE made it impossible
to be the English teacher to that class.  Although  I am an
English teacher my duties were filled with technical duties of
maintaining the integrity of the Web page and all Internet
related matters for the school and outside of the school.  My
failings: I was stretched too far. I am in a system which doesn't
heed warnings and pushes to the point after failure, which
requires immediate triage, and wonderful hindsight.  They praised
me but did not heed my warnings.  They were blind to my failings
and I was not convincing enough to convey my failings or
inabilities to fulfill the desired results.
What have we done?  We have first scheduled the class so as many
students as possible can take the course next year with the
fewest amount of conflicts.  Secondly we have dropped the English
credit.  It is now just a business credit.  I will serve as a
consultant only and not teacher of record.  All of the students
will have an English class in addition to this class so they will
not be pawns in another BOE exercise.  How do I better behave in
the future?



boundary to open or too rigid
     take all kids can't get rid of teachers
     boundary must be permeability to let in and get out.

authority of experience and training

roles of players in school

task of schooling

schools as caregiving orgs
task is then on relationship is primary
relation is primary content is derivative
pdk shows that if the kid feels a teacher likes the kid then the
     kid will respond favorably.

reflective of community

Reading Heifitz, R "Leadership without Easy Answers"
Covey, S "& Habits of Highly Effective People."

Lost in Familar Places Shapiro and Carr
     school, church, family torn apart

Interpretive stance
     boss came in and put feet on kid chair. bothered her...

we move from uncertainty to uncertainty
trying to move from uncertainty to certanty.

when all are screaming for clarity, leader must hold 2+ right
ways.  How to make more people right.

Pathological Certainty:
self dogmatic, sure you are right.
with more stress we become more closed.

Change requires interpretive stance.
break cycle of repeating history. hegel quote...


The paper:

relation then content  good to use in web design...