Embedded Leadership

The theme of the gifted education conference in Korea next year is “Embedded Leadership”. Being fairly sure it didn’t mean leadership that couldn’t get up in the morning, but somewhat ignorant as to what it actually did mean, I looked it up. I found a White Paper on Embedded Leadership.

This has been a fascinating document to stumble across right now, because I am looking at the whole relationship between self-directed learning and the types of assessment and evaluation that can be meaningful to the learner, regardless of the direction for learning chosen. At One Day School and Gifted Online we have a negotiated curriculum. What we offer is not a self-directed add-on to a process of teaching to any test, because we don’t use tests. When we evaluate, we are attempting to evaluate the learning journey itself. I often find myself looking to professional learning literature for best practice examples in offering this level of autonomy and independence to learners, then asking myself if it is indeed best practice to apply adult learning literature to children.

Best practice examples that talk about a deep relationship between self-directed learning and meaningful assessment and evaluation are full of words like formative, reflective, sample, repository, annotate, discuss, co-create, collaborate, mentor, portfolio and occasionally rubric.  They contain few words like pass, fail, letter grade, or test, and they are sparing with the use of summative.

What does this have to do with Embedded Leadership? The white paper is about “leadership development embedded in processes of working, learning, and knowing”. It shares a common vocabulary with a lot of self-directed learning literature. It is about organisational leaders learning in ways that are tightly entwined with the goals of their organisation – learning and the ways in which learning is recorded have transparent relevance and purpose. This reminded me of another article that discusses teachers’ professional growth portfolios as “a tool that frames the group’s real purpose“.

I guess Embedded Leadership is a hybrid between self-directed learning and institutionally prescribed learning, but I guess that what we offer is too. Anyway, it seemed really interesting, and a good choice for a gifted education conference.

Are you incredibly wealthy, and looking for someone to fund to the conference in Korea? Feel most welcome to mention this in the comments box below!

The author of this blog will commence drinking even cheaper coffee, along with other tedious budget-related practices. Seoul could be great 🙂


About Mary St George

I teach in gifted education, both online and face-to-face.
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