Focusing on the Big Picture – Setting the Scene

I have been in Dubai for 8 weeks now and have been bowled over by many things; the climate, the unprecedented growth (people, buildings and business) and the enthusiasm people have for learning.

Meeting my new leadership team, getting to know them (and them to know me), setting up the parameters for how we are going to work together and learning about their personal vision and dreams for the school was uplifting. As a new leader, in a new country, in a new system garnering the support of your leadership team was an important foundational step. They need to know what your thoughts are so they can reflect on how to connect their vision with yours.

For me it is important to start with a focus on the ‘bigger picture’ so that there is a clear understanding of where the school is headed, whether the right culture, competences and resources are in place to support that journey and if the learning framework is right to achieve the defined goals of the school. In essence, it’s about ensuring that the school is focused on the longer term and not just the here and now, important as that may be.

For a young school where the focus is shifting from ‘setting up’ school practices to building the next phase in the journey, keeping an eye on the big picture is one of the main roles of the designated leader.


Author: Dr Jake Madden

Jake Madden (Dip Teach; B.Ed; Grad Dip: Leadership; M. Ed: Leadership; EdD; FACEL; MACE) Dr. Jake Madden is currently the Principal, St Edward’s Primary School, Tamworth. He has enjoyed a successful teaching and principal leadership career over the last thirty years building teacher capacity through the development of learning in the contemporary world, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st century learner and curriculum for global mindedness. Jake is a leader in the notion of teacher-as-researcher and is widely published in this area, authoring and co-authoring books and a number of journal articles showcasing his experiences and research into leading educational change.

2 thoughts on “Focusing on the Big Picture – Setting the Scene”

  1. Good on you Jake. I agree wholeheartedly that the bigger picture is most vital in the growth of a school and in fact any organisation in our ever changing world. It is with that greater picture in mind that we work to achieve our daily, weekly and yearly goals. One of the best pieces of advice an ex high school teacher gave (at assembly one day), was to always set goals and aspire to achieve them. I have always done this and try to pass this message on to the pupils in my care. You will be a great leader over there Jake, I have no doubt! Good luck and set their hearts on fire!

  2. Reflecting on your older posts….the interesting thing is that you are looking at the goals and mission of your school community before you plan. Sounds simple, but it must be so tempting to bring your own agenda, but every school is different, as you know. Having visited the school I know what the mission is. Dar al marefa will go well!

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