The societal changes, due to the complexity of its functioning and globalization, in many diverse and multiple dimensions demand a different type of citizens. These people need to live, work, develop and seek happiness locally under a global influence. Many of the previously well established principles and values are at least questioned, examined and many times challenged; The development and nurturing of the new local or global individual who must acquire different competences, master new skills, operate with a more complex set of rules, feel the pressure to protect the environment and be compassionate about a fellow citizen who might reside on a different continent. How do we prepare young people for such a demanding life, what kind of an educational experience should they receive and what are the appropriate universal principles and values guiding their actions personally and professionally?
The questions are accumulated experientially to include: what curriculum, what learning objectives, what characteristics faculty must have, who defines these principles and values, how we assess learning, what the desirable qualities of educated people are and many others.
Educational experience is defined as the complete learning experience obtained from students’ academic, physical, spiritual and civic responsibilities. Definitely, to answer all or some or many of these questions we need to engage the minds of students, staff, faculty, administration, parents and all friends of an academic institution with the underline commitment to serve the family, the community, the nation and the world.
Innovation and authentic leadership approach are the enabling objectives to provide students with a unique, meaningful, high quality, holistic education experience. Those students will then exercise wisdom to decision making, as they become the keepers of the future of the planet.
Therefore a new trajectory in k-12 education is urgently needed.
Stefanos Gialamas has developed a new educational paradigm, which is implemented, at the ACS Athens, for the past 10 years. The new educational paradigm called the Global Morfosis Paradigm (gMp) is an authentic, unbounded, and exciting educational paradigm-preparing student for complex and ambiguous future needs.
This dynamic paradigm consists of three inseparable, interconnected, and interrelated components: the Morfosis Educational Philosophy (Morfosis-Μορφωση), the i2Flex Delivery Methodology (i2Flex), and the Aristeia (Αριστεια) Leadership Approach (Aristeia Leadership)
- Morfosis Educational Philosophy (Morfosis -Μορφωση)
The Morfosis Educational Philosophy (Morfosis) is defined within the 21st century framework, as a holistic, meaningful, and harmonious educational experience, guided by ethos.
Holistic it means understanding and successfully combining the academic, emotional, physical, intellectual and ethical components to ensure a healthy, balanced individual. An individual who will successfully cope with the changes involved when entering higher education as well as the changes that life brings
Meaningful Refers to being in line with ones principles and values, with ones personal and professional goals. The educational experience must be meaningful for the learner. The learner should see it as part of his/her life and not in isolation of knowledge. In addition it must be meaningful in relation to his/her dreams, strengths, desires and talents. Discovering the feeling of being “in love with life and learning” gives life meaning and thus there is a personal interest in making “living” desirable.
Harmonious Refers to the idea that all human dimensions must be in harmony. In other words emotions, intelligence and intellect must be harmonically integrated. Similar to an orchestra, working in harmony with the conductor is essential. The learner takes is as the conductor, the one who helps all parts stay in harmony. He in turn is the decision maker and the decision maker is the analytical thinker, reflector, mentor, teacher and servant.
Ethos: “ Doing the right thing when no one is watching you” emphasis on when no one is watching you (C.S.Lewis and Aldo Leopold)
- The i²Flex Delivery Methodology (i2Flex)
The vehicle to implement Morfosis, is the i2Flex delivery methodology (I square Flex), a non-traditional learning methodology that draws on the fundamentals of blended learning, and integrates face-to-face and technology-supported instruction with faculty-guided and independent student learning, aiming at developing higher order cognitive skills within a flexible and inspiring learning design.The i2Flex is defined as the teaching and learning approach containing a face-to-face and non-face-to-face teaching and learning. The non-face-to-face student learning includes the independent, and the inquiry-based students learning guided by the faculty. The face-to-face component includes student and faculty engagement in the classroom or outside in an interactive form utilizing technology. This highly interactive learning experience is focused on the intellectual skills of analysis, synthesis, evaluation and creation in the Revised Version of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning. Much of the work of knowledge acquisition, associated with the intellectual process of remembering, understanding and application can be accomplished through faculty guided students learning and independent student investigation. Students are engaged in face-to-face learning opportunities in many forms, and that learning occurs anywhere and anytime for everyone.Therefore:
I : independent student learning
I : inquiry-based student learning
Flex : Face-to-Face and Flexible student learning
- The Aristeia (Αριστεία) Leadership
The Aristeia leadership is the continuous act of effectively engaging all members of an organization, or community, as well as utilizing their differences, their authentic energies, creative ideas, and diverse qualities primarily for the benefit of their constituencies. It is comprised by three interrelated, inseparable, and interconnected components.
(i) The establishment of an Authentic Leadership Identity (ALI)
(ii) The creation of a Collective Leadership-Partnership Approach (CPA).
(iii) Serving Humanity
Authentic Leadership Identity (ALI)
We turn to Socrates, by way of Adler, and apply a central tenet of Socratic philosophy – that living a life of meaning begins with the quest to “know thyself.”-
Authentic Leadership Identity =
(Life Experiences and Individual Characteristics) + Personal Leadership Identity
- Life Experiences and Individual Characteristics
The process of understanding where we come from and how life has affected and shaped our personalities, life choices and approaches to living is important in developing and defining a leadership identity. We are not separate from our experiences, and our experiences and perceived view of the world will, to a great degree, define our leadership approach.
Therefore knowing oneself, at this level, is a necessary first step in creating the leadership vision and defining its philosophy of education, but it is also the fuel that will guide decision making, establish relationships and ensure that the institution is a healthy, thriving entity within the community, capable of molding healthy individuals who will become tomorrow’s leaders, global citizens with a commitment to serving humanity.
- Personal Leadership Identity
Within this personality framework, we must identify clearly our principles and values, knowing very well which are absolutely non-negotiable. Once defined, these are the fixed guides that point us in the direction of achieving our vision. By principles, we refer to specific ways of behaving; a general way of conducting ourselves. Values are best described as the standards of our actions and the attitudes of our hearts and minds that shape who we are, how we live, and how we treat other people.
Next, we must also clearly define our professional goals through a similar process of self-reflection and revision: where do we want life to take us, and how can we participate in this co-creative process? These are the questions a leader must continuously ask in order to revise, fine-tune and refine his/her leadership approach. Finally, as the last step in establishing a leadership identity, the leader must clearly identify his/her personal goals, adopting a holistic approach to life and leadership by ensuring that personal and professional goals align and do not conflict with or undermine one another
Creating a Collective Leadership- Partnership Approach
Establishing such a leadership includes the following stages:
- Establishing a partnership based on common principles and values, and complimentary personal and professional goals in life;
- Distributing authority and decision making;
- Outlining clearly the type, magnitude and areas of authority;
- Supporting and encouraging team members in using their decision making authority;
- Reflecting continuously on the partnership in order to adjust the distribution of ownership of decision making;
- Motivating members of the leadership team to reproduce this model in their work with members of their own teams;
- Fostering the same model of collaborative leadership in the classroom to empower students to pursue the kind of learning necessary to develop the intellectual, social and moral autonomy we have defined as essential 21st century human skills.
Partnerships and collaborations ensure that there are checks and balances, that other individuals participate in the decision making process and that there is a comprehensive support system in place to ensure that the institution thrives and functions at the highest possible level of achievement. They also create a greater pool of knowledge, experience, expertise, questions, ways of knowing and approaches to problem solving that make the sum greater than the individual parts. It is crucial that all members of the leadership partnership share a belief in the institutional vision and are committed to striving towards reaching common goals.
Serving Humanity requires a commitment from the leader to the entire civic spectrum, stemming from social awareness and interest, to social engagement and commitment.
We define as social commitment the pledge to benefit the human condition. Striving for the betterment of a situation or the improvement of a person’s life, and enhancing the quality of life for all becomes a way of life for the leader, as he/she develops a positive mind set toward improving any necessary aspect of society.
Stefanos Gialamas, 2015