Well, what can I say about the BELMAS conference. In some ways I've enjoyed the event – some good company – one or two challenging points – but I can't help feeling that I'm an interloper on a world to which I don't belong. The academics have steadfastly refused to mix with us mortals and I feel we are only here to give the event some semblance of cross-representation of the various sectors. I think it would be much more honest to “say exactly what it says on the tin” by promoting it as a conference for university academics involved in the research of educational leadership.
Having said all that it would be churdish not to reflect upon the points that have struck me over today. I was taken by the notion promoted by Professor Ken Leithwood who suggested that the socialization of headteachers in their childhood had more impact on their effectiveness, than their subsequent professional training. If that is the case we should be spending much more time identifying the underlying values and personality of aspiring leaders than we do at present.
He also touched upon the idea of mental models, i.e. that teachers carry mental models around in their heads of what a leader looks like and behaves like. If a new leader does not confrom to that model it will take a much longer time for them to persuade their staff that they have the “stuff” of leadership, than someone who immediately conforms to their model. Prospective headteachers should bare this in mind as it is relatively easy to change your outside skin to conform to an expectancy yet remain true to underlying values .
Many of the other today other presentations have been over my head , I did, however, pick up from Simon Clarke's presentation about the power of narrative that it can provide a short cut to professional wisdom by enabling people to learn from the stories of other professionals experience. Looking forwards to getting home.