Got Staff? Get Cultured! The Key Ingredients to Nurturing Adult Learning Communities

Next Generation Learning Challenges has released an informative guide to nurturing adult learning communities. Excerpts from the piece appear below:

It is only by cultivating the types of adult learning cultures where our teachers feel revived and excited about the work that we can hope to create the types of schools where students feel empowered by their learning.

While paying teachers more is always a good idea, job satisfaction matters more for teacher retention than salaries. School leaders can set the conditions to attract and retain educators by utilizing what we know motivates people.

Daniel Pink’s work on motivation provides a roadmap for creating environments where teachers want to be. To retain the educational workforce, his work suggests, schools should provide educators with a strong purpose, opportunities to master their craft, and space to be innovative. 

However it isn’t enough to just cultivate the conditions where staff have a strong sense of shared purpose, opportunities to grow, and autonomy in their work. How you lead matters. When the three principles named above are coupled with the following leadership characteristics, school leaders can authentically show up and galvanize their community to work together to realize the shared vision.

  • Vulnerability and Bravery: Strong leaders are able to name what they do not know, approach the work from a learner’s stance, and seek input from others.
  • Transparency and Clarity: Leaders that are able to provide purpose in the workplace make the invisible visible. 
  • Coalition Building: Battles are not won without allies. To build a coalition for decisions, school leaders must make those decisions with a diverse group of stakeholders at the table. 

The past two years have made it one of the most challenging periods for educators. Now more than ever, educators need school leaders to lean in on what has always been integral to strong schools—a positive adult work culture that is led with bravery, transparency, and team-building.

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