MILLA INKILA says The Mind Lab by Unitec is helping principals to attain a shift in focus from management to leadership.
I moved to New Zealand all the way from Finland when The Mind Lab by Unitec opened its doors to teachers and school leaders in 2014. During the past three years, as a postgraduate director and session facilitator, I have had the privilege of seeing more than 2,000 teachers come through our doors feeling inspired, motivated and confident to embrace the challenges of this global, digital and collaborative era.
This group now includes a growing number of leadership teams, principals and deputy principals, who are transforming their focus from management to becoming pedagogical leaders by completing The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning).
From my experience, the best leaders recognise that we are on the same journey as our students. The same digital tools and pedagogical approaches that help our students to collaborate, problem solve, innovate and self-manage can also help us and our teams.
When looking for good leadership models, we should also look outside the education setting. After starting out a teacher and then jumping into the IT industry, I experienced the real power of self-managing teams. Having the courage to try something new really requires agency, collaboration and courage.
As pedagogy evolves to tackle our changing society, a willingness to take a more active role in effecting cultural change is one of the greatest attributes our teachers and school leaders can have. Realising you are not alone builds that much-needed courage. We can drive the change by listening to, motivating and inspiring each other and our students.
In today’s dynamic environment we are here to help time-poor teachers and leaders seize the opportunity to reflect on and develop their practice. We’re providing opportunities to cultivate new ideas through collaboration; improve teaching practices, and challenge preconceived ideas about educational leadership.
Being a manager is about operating at the level of ‘business as usual’. Leadership is about being able to initiate and sustain change. At The Mind Lab by Unitec we give educators the tools, skills and confidence to collaborate, innovate, inspire and embrace change in 21st-century teaching and learning – and I’m grateful that we too get to further upskill with every new cohort of students.
Milla Inkila is Postgraduate Director for The Mind Lab by Unitec. The Mind Lab by Unitec’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) is a part time 32-week programme and is redefining professional development for teachers through the offering of a hands-on, progressive and blended qualification. Intakes for 2017 are in March, July and November.
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