5 Essential Traits of 21st Century School Leaders

“We owe it to our students to lead in a way that is consistent with the future they are moving toward!  Be great for them!” – Mr. Keenan 

Authentic
Adaptive
Innovative
Lifelong Learner
Dynamic
Student-Centered
Risk-Taker

These are a few of the traits that I believe 21st century educational leaders should encompass. Luckily, this week’s blogger of the week, Mr. Keenan, a high school English teacher from Airdrie, Alberta, possesses these and more. Keenan, author of Adventures in Teaching and Learning – a blog for 21st educators, teaches his high school English students using a class set of iPod touches.

“Meet them on Their Terms, Use Their Tools”

Keenan’s goal is to create lifelong learners by showing his students how to use the devices in their pockets for academic tasks.

He explains, “If they are at work and need to create a solution to a problem, they will be able to pull out their iPod and create a mind map, twitter with experts, blog and collaborate. I guess it boils down to authentic learning.”

Keenan also maintains a class blog to keep his students up to date with news, homework, and readings. It is a great example of effective and appropriate use of social media in schools. Check it out here.

Traits of 21st Century Educational Leaders 

The posts that caught my attention most this week were titled Philosophy of Educational Leadership and 5 Traits of 21st Century Educational Leadership. Keenan begins by outlining traits of 21st century administrators. He echoed the message of last week’s blogger of the week, Principal Eric Sheninger, demanding that administrators must “lead teachers into new frontiers of education” and accept that learning can and must occur socially and globally, outside school walls.

Next, Keenan examined educational leadership from a more general perspective, looking deeper within a school environment, including teacher leaders and other faculty that touch the lives and minds of students. These are the 5 essential traits outlined by Keenan, for a more in depth discussion, please read his entire post:

  1. An Active Listener
  2. A Connected Leader
  3. An Authentic Conversationalist
  4. Inspirational and Empowering
  5. A 21st Century Learning Specialist

Do you agree with Mr. Keenan? What 5 traits to you believe make an effective 21st century educational leader?

Don’t forget to check back next week for an interview with Mr. Keenan on authentic teaching and learning, 21st Century tools for success, using ipods in the classroom, and more.

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