Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Shepherd Leader

"The Lord is my shepherd."

The image of the shepherd as a leader is such a rich metaphor for leadership in today’s world.  Above all, I envision a a shepherd as humble, of the earth and loving, all the while being a protector and guide.  This is definitely how I imagine the best case scenario of myself as leader.  Not much to live up to.... :)

In Shepherd Leadership, McCormick and Davenport compare the shepherd leader to a great tour guide.  They say a tour guide can “without directly trying to control your every move, a good guide nevertheless empowers you to see more and learn more than would ever be possible on your own”.  What a powerful statement of what leadership can really mean!  This sentence struck me because it relates so easily to my reflection on my scholarly experience, and my vision moving forward.

                                                                   Listening to a tour guide explain a Roman ruin.

As a student in the Educational Technology and Design program, I really felt like I was being guided along my journey, not directed but not left to my own devices either.  The program is actually rather small, with three professors leading us in our learning.  I feel I really got to know them as instructional leaders, understand their teaching styles and their expectations of us as scholars.  Through the curriculum set out in the program, I was given the chance to broadly cover psychology of learning, to getting deeper into instructional design and distance education, to choosing my own topics to research and report on.  All of the prescribed courses and activities enriched me professionally, and often personally.  

Moving forward, this image of a great tour guide is resonating in me.  I want to not only help steer my colleagues towards great teaching and learning.  I want to discover and share the secret passageways rich with information, the works of art full of ideas and ideals.  As teachers, we can live in the isolation that is our classroom.  My own experience in ETAD has brought me into community with the scholars who have gone before me, and the great minds that are exploring and working in education today.  Entering into the world of educational research can be intimidating and take time, and working in ETAD has given me confidence to use the larger community of educators in my practice.  The knowledge that exists out there is so vast and so rich, and I want to bring that richness back into the schools I work in and back to my colleagues.  

The shepherd leader is characterized as being “with” the flock.  Immersing myself into the world of professional scholarship, and the ideas in Educational technology and design has re- energized my own sprit of inquiry, a quality I can bring back to my students and my colleagues.  

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