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by Joseph H. Semadeni
Table of Contents
The beauty of Fusion is that it's simple and adaptable. The principles of Fusion can be applied in myriad contexts, both in and outside education.
Fusion can be used as a mentoring program for novice teachers. For example, a district may decide that mastery of fundamental classroom management and instructional skills is necessary for beginning teachers to earn tenure. Novice teachers from various schools within a district meet together with one or two veteran teachers, acting as discussion leaders, to form study groups. New teachers complete the mastery process as outlined in Chapter 2 and receive a stipend once they demonstrate proficiency. Because the purpose of this process is to determine teacher tenure, it is summative in nature. Therefore, the building administrator, rather than the teacher facilitator, determines when new teachers have mastered strategies deemed essential by the district. Once beginning teachers demonstrate the ability to apply these strategies, they earn tenure, regardless of whether this process takes two years or five. After teachers have become tenured, the teacher facilitator, not the building administrator, oversees their participation in Fusion.
The principles of Fusion can be applied to settings beyond the classroom. At the administrative level, leaders identify strategies that can improve their leadership skills and then add them to a Menu of Alternatives similar to Figure E.1.
Instructional Leadership Skills
Leadership Characteristics (Marzano, 2005)
A Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum
Safe and Orderly Environment
Parent and Community Involvement
Designing Web Pages
Challenging Goals and Effective Feedback
Assessing and Planning Skills
Developing Collaborative Groups
Designing Time-Efficient and Effective Meetings
Using Conflict as a Resource
Tailored Observation Systems
Collegiality and Professionalism
Administrators complete a mastery process in which they read professional literature, respond to writing prompts, participate in study groups with other leaders, observe a colleague model a strategy, and then demonstrate the ability to employ what they have studied based on observation/demonstration criteria. After completing Level 1, administrators earn a stipend. Leaders who can prove these strategies have become an integral part of their repertoire of leadership skills earn points that can be used for a permanent increase in pay.
Some leadership skills may be more applicable to the mastery process than others. For example, it would be fairly simple to invite a colleague to attend a faculty meeting to observe a principal incorporate group process skills. However, many leadership skills are applied spontaneously, making it difficult to schedule peer observation. For instance, calming an angry parent or handling an emergency situation requires immediate attention. It would be unreasonable to keep an irate parent waiting while the principal contacts a peer from another building and asks that colleague to come and observe the principal model how to use interpersonal skills to handle the situation. Instead, role playing can be used to complete the mastery process when peer observation is not feasible. One principal could take on the role of an angry parent, while another principal models the ability to address the situation in a competent manner. Even though role playing may feel uncomfortable initially, the practice will benefit both principals the next time they communicate with an upset parent.
Any profession that involves adult learning could apply the principles of Fusion. For example, the medical profession could offer a Menu of Alternatives to nurses and then encourage them to improve their skills through completion of the mastery process. The business community could identify key characteristics that would improve the performance of their business and then use Fusion as a tool to motivate employees to master these skills. Professional trades could also apply the principles of Fusion to improve the training of new apprentices. With a little imagination, the principles of Fusion can be applied to ignite change in a variety of organizations.
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