Transformational Leadershop – Fran Prolman

Another workshop from the CEESA Conference. The big idea of the workshop is the leader changes as the followers also change. Both leader and participant raise to higher levels of motivation.

Dr. Fran Prolman Led the Workshop


Transformational Leadership can be categorized into three areas.

1) Relationship Building – Getting outside of ourselves and seeing their point of view.  

2) Taking a Risk – I can re-invent myself in my work. I can re-invent myself all the time. Always growing.

3) Creating a Culture – I can create a culture of learning, whether it be a hostile environment or nice environment.

Part I. Relationship Building

Fran likes to give us authors and book titles.  Margaret Wheatley “Turning to One Another” and “Leadership in a New Science” – Water will always finds its way to the ocean. It has the power to reshape granite. It will always finding a way to the ocean. It is a nice metaphor.  

Ways to build transformational leadership and collegiality:

Teaching is an isolating experience. The key is to get teachers to observe one another, sharing expertise at faculty meetings, asking for help,

A nice idea to do is to build collaborative team time built right into the schedule. 

Another good author is Susan Scott with her book Fierce Conversations.

Another good book is the “Fred Factor” by Mark Sanborn.   “How can I be the best Principal you have ever had?” In this book, he writes about the “B’s”

  • Be real
  • Be interested (It is not about me, it is about you as a transformational leader.) Fran Polman interviews people at cocktail parties. Does the person notice they do not know anything about? When this happens, the other person is now ready for a two-way relationship. Another example is when a student comes into your office between classes.
  • Be a better listener

When someone comes in an asks if they have a minute, I ask them what the topic is. Then I either go for it or ask them to set an appointment.

  • Be empathic – I want to see things through your lens. 1/3 of any group of adults are dealing with something really hard (illness, divorce) – they need support 1/3 they are healing from the abyss – 1/3 in a state of illusion
  • Be honest
  • Be helpful
  • Reinvent yourself regularly – Increase you Implementation Quotient – increase your capacity

What I am taking from this session in the three categories?

1) I am going to focus on taking the viewpoint of younger teachers.

2) I like the idea of postponing a conversation by setting an appointment, but first asking what the topic is.

This is a strength of mine.

Part II. Risk-Taking

Another good author is Carol Dweck and her book “Mind Set” defines two mindsets, the first being a performance goal versus a learning goal. The first mindset, the people will not take risks because of afraid of failure. An attribute of success after school is to take risks. Michael Fullan wrote in “Implementation Dip” that there will be a big descent after the implementation to the abyss of change and teachers will play out according to their personalities and maturity. When the group hits rock bottom, they begin to think about what exactly support systems they need to get back up to the top. This is “creative tension” is what cranks up the creativity. You as an inspirational leader work the hardest at the bottom to bring them to a higher level.  This also applies to new families to the school. It is a big change for them to entrust you with their child and they will struggle at first.  The time frame is 3 – 5 years

The degree to which the leader challenges assumptions, seeks feedback from others.

Eric Weihenmayer is a blind mountain climber who leads blind children to high peaks. He used to be a MS teacher, wrestling coach, and the only blind person ever to climb Mnt. Everest.

Another transformational leader is Ben Carson, who was raised in the ghettos of Detroit and a single mother with a third grade education. Her mother made him to read a book a week and write a report on it. He is the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at John Hopkins Hospital at age 32.  He believes in THINK BIG (talent, honesty, Insight, Nice, Knowledge) and then (Books, In-depth learning, God) His most recent book is “Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose, and Live with Acceptable Risk. He uses this decision making process with

What am I taking away from this session?

1) Talk to the teachers about the Michael Fullan descent and ascent change before we do the 1:1 lap top program.

2) Seek feedback AND data from the staff regarding the schedule.

3) Go with the filming of teachers

I would say I am more conservative and less of a risk-taker.

Instructional Strategies That Improve Student Achievement

These are my reflections and notes from Fran Prolman, an educational consultant from the US. The workshop took place on March 18, 2010 as part of the CEESA conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

What will I take back to Belgrade?

10 – 2 Rule: For every ten minutes of teacher centered talk, there must be 2 minutes of student talk.

These are the strategies to get the students talking.

  • “Paired Verbal Fluency” – Take what you heard and put it to long-term memory. Important to shift from teacher to talk and more for the students to talk.
  • Think Pair Share – teacher assigns a question,  students solve it.
  • Journal Entry on Blog –
  • Graphic Organizer

Collegiality versus Congeniality – everyone brings food/sunshine club, which is nice, but schools need to have professional learning community.

Five Behaviors for a Highly Collegial School

1)      Talk concretely, precisely about teaching and learning

2)      Planning and making materials together (not planning in isolation) it is easier

3)      Observing each other’s classroom – Go on an strategy hunt

4)      Teachers share their expertise – faculty meetings take place in various teacher classrooms

5)      Teachers are asking questions and providing assistance to one another

Another idea was to get a sub for the teacher and have them follow a student for a day.

The average number of pages in a textbook in the USA is 800 pages.

She loves the standards AERO because they are geared to international schools.

M.A.P. has a good correlation to the AERO standards.  

What are the indicators for a Standards-Based School?

Published criteria, posted work , students are able to tell you what they did and what

Shift from focus on teaching to learning.

Shift from a coverage mentality to a mastery mentality.

Engage teams in building shared knowledge with documents

Teams help looking rubrics at “rater reliability” –

Beginning the Lesson – Frame the Learning for your students

  • Standard, mastery objective, essential questions, – tell the students what they will learn – remember, no secrets
  • Activators – relate the material to what the students have already learned or know
  • Rubrics; free easy site for teachers to do rubrics quickly and easily
  • Word Splash (this is an activator) – splash words on a page that the students will be learning – have the students make predictive statements on how the terms are related – this is a good web site for creating word splashes,

  • K / W / L –


Confusers – ex) having latitude and longitude in the same lesson 

Examplars are great for kids – for example a good lab report with arrows pointing to points in the rubric

Middle of the Lesson – Checking for Understanding

  • White boards (mini slate) for each student – ask a question to one student, and only one student is understanding – quiet ones demonstrate  (content check)
  • Signal Cards – red/yellow/green (thumbs up / thumbs down /thumbs sideways
  • Sentence Stems – put these on 3by5 cards and it can be used by the index cards
  • Descriptive Feedback –

Important to have detailed feedback for the student – Ex) Your L look like the letter Y instead of sloppy

Do a re-write so you can incorporate it in the text.

Teachers do not put a final grade on the paper instead have the students judge themselves.

Good feedback tells me how to improve, non-judgmental, limited focus, specific, based on the standards,

The “stand up and talk” dialogue and the movement really helps the students to focus. Big sitting down is less oxygen in the brain – many people think better when they are running.

Walk – Talk – This is a good kinestetic strategy, we read an article about feedback and then walked and talked about it.

Personal Relationship Building is a spoke on the umbrella and class climate is the umbrella. Respect, courtesy, fairness, honesty, realness, humor, (Much like the IB Learner Profile)

Pouring on praise on a student actually shuts down thinking and conversation. It makes teacher’s pets, and creates a competitive environment. (Arthur Casta – says not to put a value on it, no student gets a judgment. )

Performance Goal  – Don’t take risks, wants to maintain the seven.

Learning Goal – With great feedback, this becomes front and center instead of the performance goal.

How to Train Students to Think Creativity

E. Paul Torrance / Alex Osbourne

1) Elaboration (not a new idea, take a basic idea and elaborate)

2) Fluency – Mental stamina,

3) Flexibility – mental, move your brain to different ideas smoothly

4) Originality

The End of the class: Evidence of Student Learning

“The Important Thing” (summarizer)

I like the term, SELF ADJUSTMENT.