Leading Learning in 2018

“The balance between leading and learning is essential.”

(Fullan 2017, p. 62)

Back in early December, we met with our Assistant Principals in Western Region (NLESD) to talk about Learning Leadership.  We shared that Learning Leadership was an essential approach to effective practice in schools.  The feedback from that event was that overwhelmingly, the biggest barrier to learning, is time.

Education leadership is challenging, yet rewarding, work.  The work is never finished.  There is always more to be done.  Finding balance is an endless pursuit for many (just check out the latest #onewordONT word cloud to see this in action!)


As system leaders, we need to ask ourselves how we can enable school leaders to be leading learners.  If time is such a barrier, how can we deliver learning opportunities to our leaders in a format that is valuable to them and meets their learning needs?

In 2018, we live in a connected world.  Learning must be more than just reading content.  When our school and system leaders are networked learners, our children and students in the system benefit.  When we try to build an effective learning network, we have to consider four components: Collecting (information), connecting (to others, f2f and online), curating (sharing back) and creating (value for others).  How do we enable our leaders to build a learning network while respecting their existing workload?

With CREATE as my #onewordONT focus for 2018, I have started a weekly mailout of the learning I do each week, in a format that can be accessed in short (10 minute) blocks of time.  It includes curated content that reflects what educators around the world are sharing, research, upcoming learning opportunities, suggestions for podcasts, blogs, videos and twitter accounts to follow to encourage networking.  By delivering this to an email inbox, I am hoping to give busy educators simple access to great content as well as encouragement and support in building a professional learning network to sustain learning.

The collection is entitled B.I.T.S., and you can see the January 19, 2018 issue here.  Subscribe for weekly editions here.



If you like it, please share it widely.

If you have requests, please reply to this post with comments and questions.

And if you are already a networked learner, please support others in becoming leading learners.


Leaders need to balance their learning and leadership work.  Too much leading, and you lose touch with what matters to others.  Too much learning, and confusion results (Fullan, 2017, p. 62). But no time for learning is a recipe for disaster in our exponentially changing world.

Setting aside 10 minutes to dig into a menu of curated learning opportunities should help.  Please share your thoughts and feedback to grow and develop this through 2018.



Featured image by Johnny McClung on Unsplash


Michael Fullan: Indelible Leadership: Always Leave Them Learning 2017

Stacey Wallwin (blog): A Review: Indelible Leadership: Always Leave them Learning

Michael Fullan (podcast): Engage the World, Change the World

Leadership Learning – Our work with Assistant Principals

Subscribe to B.I.T.S. (from the Learning About Learning blog)

B.I.T.S. January 19, 2018

Dimensions of an Effective Leader

3 thoughts on “Leading Learning in 2018

  1. Donna, we also hear that time is a barrier. My wondering – what formal learning structures exist for leaders in your district that you can review, repurpose, or reframe to create that time for them?

  2. Thank you, Sue, for taking the time to post this comment.

    I am so set on helping everyone else build a #PLN and learn that I often forget that I need to grow and expand my own as my role evolves and changes.

    Your question has caused me to do some deep thinking about roles today, and I will be tackling this problem this week. Your perspective on this has been very helpful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *