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Christians in Teaching Conference: Parts 3 and 4

On Saturday May 5, 2018, Anglican EdComm welcomed Dr Donald Guthrie of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Chicago to deliver the keynote addresses at the Christians in Teaching Conference which focused on ‘Resilient Teaching’. Below are the video recordings of the third and fourth sessions of the conference. You can find the accompanying slide deck and notes used to guide these sessions below.

Watch Session 3.

In his third keynote address, Dr Guthrie began by summarising best practice themes coming from and common to the research being conducted into resilience in the ‘helping professions’. He discussed the following points and offered commentary to explain ways professional systems can develop resilience.

A. Employ collegial support
B. Adopt a multi-faceted approach to development
C. Cultivate a positive work environment through modelling personal agency
D. Pay special attention to young adults
E. Hold a salutogenic approach in tension with a pathogenic approach
F. Hold constraints in ‘opposable’ tension with abundance

This discussion served as a broad introduction to Dr Guthrie’s discussion on ‘cultivating Gospel-healthy systems’. He noted that ‘we don’t operate as individuals in some vacuum in the universe. We operate in real places in real time’.

Dr Guthrie went on to discuss the marks of healthy systems, unpacking how individuals come together to form the system, and how collective actions enable the system to grow. Central to these systems are Gospel-healthy leaders who promote the interests of Jesus and his kingdom.

According to Dr Guthrie, a healthy system that builds resilience has:
1.    a mission;
2.    flexibility; and
3.    collaborative partners.

He followed this by discussing the importance of ‘coming to the line of relational trust’, the importance of ‘healthy assertiveness’ and the nexus between ‘adaptive’ and ‘technical’ challenges. The discussion on ‘adaptive leadership’ moved to unpacking the importance for leaders to know their allies and confidants (see below for an explanation of adaptive and technical change).

The final segment of this address dealt with Gospel-healthy conversation and its relationship to resilience. He concluded with an admonition to ‘keep, drop and add’ – that is keep the good, drop the bad and add the new as a way to improve the culture of gospel-healthy systems that contribute to resilience.

Watch Session 4.

In the concluding address Dr Guthrie began by addressing how to face fear with gospel hope. He raised the need for us to have a degree of fear as a way of growing in our learning and reminded us that we don’t rely on ourselves for our resilience but as Christian educators we rely on Christ.

He concluded by reminding us that in order to have resilience we need to face our fears and remember that we have a purpose beyond ourselves.

This is followed by a Q&A Session.

Click here for the Presentation Slides.

Click here for the Presentation Notes.

 

Notes:

Extract from: Heifetz, R. & Linsky, M. (2002, June). A survival guide for leaders. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: http://www.hbr.org

Adaptive Versus Technical Change: Whose Problem Is It?

The importance—and difficulty—of distinguishing between adaptive and technical change can be illustrated with an analogy. When your car has problems, you go to a mechanic. Most of the time, the mechanic can fix the car. But if your car troubles stem from the way a family member drives, the problems are likely to recur. Treating the problems as purely technical ones—taking the car to the mechanic time and again to get it back on the road—masks the real issues. Maybe you need to get your mother to stop drinking and driving, get your grandfather to give up his driver’s license, or get your teenager to be more cautious. Whatever the underlying problems, the mechanic can’t solve them. Instead, changes in the family need to occur, and that won’t be easy. People will resist the moves, even denying that such problems exist. That’s because even those not directly affected by an adaptive change typically experience discomfort when someone upsets a group’s or an organisation’s equilibrium.


Such resistance to adaptive change certainly happens in business. Indeed, it’s the classic error: Companies treat adaptive challenges as if they were technical problems. For example, executives attempt to improve the bottom line by cutting costs across the board. Not only does this avoid the need to make tough choices about which areas should be trimmed, it also masks the fact that the company’s real challenge lies in redesigning its strategy.


Treating adaptive challenges as technical ones permits executives to do what they have excelled at throughout their careers: solve other people’s problems. And it allows others in the organisation to enjoy the primordial peace of mind that comes from knowing that their commanding officer has a plan to maintain order and stability. After all, the executive doesn’t have to instigate—and the people don’t have to undergo—uncomfortable change. Most people would agree that, despite the selective pain of a cost-cutting exercise, it is less traumatic than reinventing a company.

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