Building Capacity in Our Leaders and Schools | Teachers College Columbia University

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Building Capacity in Our Leaders and Schools

Eleanor Drago-Severson's new book presents a new model for building effective learning environments in universities and K-12 schools by attending to the different ways adults learn and grow.
Drago-Severson will discuss her book on Wednesday December 12th from 3:30 to 5pm in Russell 306

How can we prepare practicing and aspiring education leaders for the complex, adaptive challenges they face?  

In Helping Educators Grow: Strategies and Practices for Leadership Development (Harvard Education Press, November 2012), Eleanor Drago-Severson, TC Professor of Education Leadership and Adult Learning and Leadership, presents a new approach to leadership development and capacity building.  Too often, she argues, we teach leadership the same way we used to teach world history: with just the facts.  Instead, we need to create professional learning environments in our university preparation programs and K-12 schools and districts that invite current and future educational leaders to experience the conditions that support adult growth, even as they are learning about them.

The book starts with the premise that adult development is leadership development -- or, that the task of school leaders is to develop the capacities of adults as well as students.  Drawing on the principles of constructive-developmental theory and 25 years of teaching, research and working with educators around the world, Drago-Severson offers a new model for conceptualizing and facilitating leadership development that is based on the core elements of care, respect, trust, collaboration and intentionality.  Informed by examples of effective, developmentally-oriented learning experiences for aspiring and practicing leaders, her book presents a behind-the-scenes look at the art and theory of shaping effective professional learning environments, and includes application exercises, tools for improvement and reflective questions to help readers engage with and implement the ideas presented.

Widely respected for her groundbreaking work in adult development, leadership and capacity-building in learning communities, Drago-Severson provides the strategies, tools and concepts to make any professional learning initiative a developmental opportunity for both individuals and groups in a variety of contexts: university-based seminars and preparation programs for teachers, principals and district leadership; professional development workshops; professional learning communities; and peer-to-peer networks.  In addition, Drago-Severson emphasizes the critical importance of prioritizing a leader's own development and renewal, and offers leadership strategies that can help leaders learn and grow personally even as they simultaneously dedicate their lifework to supporting others.

In the end, Helping Educators Grow reminds us that -- when it comes to growing leaders of all kinds in our schools -- adult development is leadership development, both for our colleagues and ourselves.   

Eleanor Drago-Severson

Eleanor Drago-Severson

Summer Principals Academy


Published Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012


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