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Metanoia in Educational Leadership

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Nermeen El Gamal

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of Metanoia in Educational Leadership

"The word is "metanoia" and it means a shift in mind. The word has a rich history. For the Greeks, it meant a fundamental shift or change, or more literally transcendence ("meta" --above or beyond, as in "metaphysics") of mind ("noia," from the root "nous," of mind).
Peter M. Senge
The Five disciplines to
Learning organizaions
4. Building a shared vision
involves the skills of uncovering the shared vision of the future (Senge 1990, 12).
its central meaning in contemporary usage. Most people's eyes glaze over if you talk to them about "learning".. Little wonder -- for, in everyday use, learning has come to be synonymous with "taking in information."
5. Systems Thinking
System thinking is the fifth
discipline that integrates the others.
3. Mental Models
these are deeply rooted
generalizations or images
that influence
how we see the world
(Senge 1990, 12).
""Yes, I learned all about that at the course yesterday." Yet, taking in information is only distantly related to real learning. It would be nonsensical to say, "I just read a great book about bicycle riding--I've now learned that"" (Senge 13).
An Alternative Perspective
for School Leadership
Understanding seeking is what super-learning is about and there is a word for this sort of learning that results in seeing everything in a different light:
Metanoia is an awakening, a fundamental shift or change of the mind, a transcendence.
To grasp the meaning of "metanoia" is to grasp the deeper meaning of "learning," for learning also involves a fundamental shift or movement of the mind" (Senge 13).
"The problem [is that] "learning" has lost
"Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do. Through learning we reperceive the world and our relationship to it. Through learning we extend our capacity to create..." (Senge 14). The basic meaning of the "learning person" or the "educated person" is that they are continually expanding their capacity to create their future.
2. Personal Mastery
The discipline of clarifying and deepening our own personal vision. It goes beyond spiritual growth. According to Senge it is a calling (Senge 1990, 11).
1. TeamBuilding
states that learning begins with dialogue. Senge states that dialogue differs from discussion. Team building depends on teams thinking and learning together (Senge 1990, 13).
In The Fifth Discipline Senge popularized the idea of the ‘learning organization’
Organizational learning: refers to the process through which organizations acquire, develop and transfer knowledge throughout the organization (Johns & Saks, 2011)

Learning in this context has a specific meaning for Senge, which he terms

‘metanoia’. A learning organization is therefore: “… an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future. "
For such an organization, it is not enough merely to survive. ‘Survival learning’ or what is more often termed ‘adaptive learning’ is important indeed it is necessary. But for a learning organization, ‘adaptive learning’ must be joined by ‘generative learning,’ learning that enhances our capacity to create.” (Senge 2006 p14)
Getting organizations to ‘shift their minds’ in order to produce both adaptive and generative learning was the intent of Senge’s work twenty years ago.
… Learning organizations where people
continually expand their capacity to
create the results they truly desire,
where new and expansive patterns of thinking
are nurtured, where collective aspiration
is set free, and where people are
continually learning how to learn together.”
(Senge, 2006)
-Change is
- Culture is essential
-Must emphasize the importance of incorporating the 5 disciplines together rather than individually
“The bad leader is he who the people despise; the good leader is he who the people praise; the great leader is he who the people say, "We did it ourselves”
“People don't resist change. They resist being changed.”
“Courage is simply doing whatever is needed in pursuit of the vision”
“People with high levels of personal mastery...cannot afford to choose between reason and intuition, or head and heart, any more than they would choose to walk on one leg or see with one eye.”
“In the presence of greatness, pettiness disappears. In the absence of a great dream, pettiness prevails.”



As teachers and supervisors we make a great team. We ‘think together’ – share our experience, insights, knowledge and skills with each other about how to do things better.
I believe that one should understand not only oneselve's models but also those of people around , including the entire organization. One should note how the models may once have been valid but have now been invalidated by changing environmental factors such as technology and new competition.
One key to change success is in surfacing deep-seated mental models - beliefs, values, mind-sets and assumptions that determine the way people think and act. Getting in touch with the thinking going on about change in your workplace, challenging or clarifying assumptions and encouraging people to reframe is essential. Leaders learn to use tools like the 'Ladder of Inference' and 'Reflective Inquiry' to practise making their mental models clearer for each other and challenging each others' assumptions in order to build shared understanding.
I would like to use W. Edwards Deming’s commentary on Peter Senge’s book ,
“Our prevailing system of management has destroyed our people. People are born with intrinsic motivation, self-respect, dignity, curiosity to learn, joy in learning. The forces of destruction begin with toddlers – a prize for the best Halloween costume, grades in school, gold stars – and on up through the university.

On the job people, teams, and divisions are ranked, reward for the top, punishment for the bottom. Management by Objectives, quotas, incentive pay, business plans, put together separately, division by division, cause further loss, unknown and unknowable.”
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