Fundació Jaume BofillUniversitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC)

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We are celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Debats d’Educació by giving the educational community the opportunity to air its views

Mireia Civís
Mireia Civís
Primary school teacher and educationalist

My name is Mireia Civís i Zaragoza, primary school teacher, educationalist and Doctor of Education. I am currently a professor at the Blanquerna Faculty of Psychology, Education Science and Sport (Ramon Llull University), with experience both in school and social education. I place my emphasis on a community perspective as the basis for renewed education. I have taken part in conferences and seminars addressing this issue, and have published a number of works on the theme.

The three things I’ve learned

A renewed educational model must be based on the trust of the agents involved and the facilitation of forums within the context of relational and distributed leadership systems.
1

Trust at the heart of the educational relationship

The host of evaluations, checks, protocols and forms which often invade daily work in education indicate a system lacking trust. I have learnt that it is vital to trust in others without bothering about looking over their shoulder. There is no better formula than to feel that you are trusted, that people believe in your capacity and potential. And that can be applied in any educational relationship: teacher-student, authority-school, school-family, family-child… Trusting in others also means empowering them and giving them a greater stake in a truly shared project. Practices such as decentralisation, subsidiarity, autonomy, co-responsibility, recognition of interdependence, participation, self-assessment, training assessment, personal and individual projects, become practices aligned with an educational model based on trust.

2

The need to create forums

If we wish to base education on a collaborative and trusting relationship, we need to facilitate forums for this, providing the space and time for meetings to happen. Could we have joint committees on which parents and teachers work together on aspects of school life: playgrounds, traditional celebrations or a focus on a particular value? Stage a monthly meeting at which the local health centre, sports centres, schools and libraries in a neighbourhood devise joint activities? Or perhaps create a network of schools regularly sharing challenges and needs, along with strategies to deal with them? I have learnt that as well as a desire to work together, we need the space and time to make this possible, recognition of such a forum as an essential element within education, facilitating a network of shared educational responsibilities, not as a "volunteer" platform outside regular duties.

3

Towards a model of distributed and relational leadership

Various experts in leadership agree that the era of personality-based leaders, whose leadership is expressed through individual actions, as the heroes or martyrs of a cause, has come to an end. What I have learned is that we need to address models of leadership which place the emphasis on distributing responsibilities and underpinning the relationships and interactions of the individuals belonging to a project, ensuring that they also feel more committed and engaged in the project itself. We need to consider organisational structures which facilitate joint, collaborative, shared and networked team efforts. Structures which can ultimately also facilitate collaborative innovation. Innovation which is enriched precisely because it is born out of interpersonal and interprofessional efforts.

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