OK…although not exactly a technology topic, the transfer of knowledge is a technical topic. School leaders need to know how to best implement a successful, and intentional knowledge management (KM) process.
Knowledge transfer is not simply something that can (or should) be done on a whim. As educators, careful thought and consideration should go into every decision we make. Each time we initiate knowledge transference, that knowledge we share can and will have an impact on other individuals and other situations throughout the organization. As agents of knowledge transfer, we need to understand that our first step should be to research what knowledge we want to pass along and clarify whether or not the information actually needs to be transferred. The transferring of knowledge can be a huge change in the life of the individual, and the life of the organization. Gorton (2009) explains the steps that should be made when dealing with any type of change within the organization. These steps are crucial to the transference of knowledge from one individual to another and can help make the passing down of pertinent information a successful change within the organization.
The steps are:
Stage 1) First, the educator should conduct a needs assessment- identify a need
Stage 2) Second, the educator must orient the target group to the proposed knowledge transfer- make sure everyone is aware of what is taking place.
Stage 3) Thirdly, the educator must decide whether to introduce the proposed information swap- find out if the knowledge transfer will bring value to the situation and the organization.
Stage 4) Next, the educator must plan a strategy of implementation- Discuss with those who will be impacted by the passing along of knowledge exactly how the process will occur.
Stage 6) Then the educator must conduct In-process evaluations- Get feedback from the knowledge transfer process. Was it impactful? Was it not impactful?
Stage 7) finally, the educator needs to define and institutionalize the successful knowledge transfer strategy- Tweak the process if necessary and then make it a permanent part of their educational process.
The passing along of knowledge is something that can add value to an educational process or institution. Educators need to make sure they are making the change for the right reasons and that the changes being made will actually benefit the people it is targeting. Wisdom in decision making should be employed when initiating any type of information sharing.
One of the ever-changing issues that school administrators have to deal with is that of student discipline issues. Where there have always been discipline issues in public schools, as times have changed, so have the student problems that teachers are facing daily. Truancy, talking back, name calling, fighting and disrupting class are issues that teachers and administrators have had to deal with since the beginning of the American educational system. But just as society has evolved, so have the issues that exist in today’s schools, thus the way educators share knowledge and ideas on the best ways to “deal” with discipline issues have changed too. In an effort to keep up with the changes in technology, educators have to tweak the way the share information with one another.
The type of knowledge-related challenges and approaches to managing knowledge will be affected by the changing environment (Hislop, 2013 p. 53). With the advancements in technology, educators have seen basic forms of discipline such as bullying and sexual assault take a whole new turn thanks to the internet and cell phones. Where bullying was once a disciplinary issues that teachers tried to police within the school building, administrators now have to focus their attention to the internet where bullying can take place in a chat room or social website such as Facebook or Instagram. Sexual assault can take place at the click of button as students are pushing the limits by taking lewd pictures of themselves or others and then sharing them via cell phones. Lives are being destroyed at the press of a finger and because the internet and cell phones are so easily accessible, school leadership has to try and stay ahead of the curve by implementing no cell phone policies and having students sign contracts which outline how internet use should be conducted.
More and more school are having to place metal detectors at their entrances so they can detect weapons such as guns and knives. No longer is gum chewing the number one issue which causes teachers to pull their hair out. Now drug dealing and gang fights are the issues which garner the teacher’s attention. Educators have to be able to communicate the rules which they expect their students (and parents) to abide by, and enforce these rules and administer disciplinary actions if necessary. Hislop (2013) explains how the individual who deals in an abundance of tacit, contextual, and/or abstract knowledge, such as the sharing of campus rules to the student/parent, is to be considered a “knowledge worker” (p. 73). The teacher and administrators become the knowledge workers whose job it is to pass along information on how the students should act, and what consequences will take place if the student does not obey campus policy.
The knowledge management process starts at the top and trickles down. Effective administrators who have the ability to transfer knowledge in an efficient and effective manner can have a huge positive impact on the overall organization. Through effective knowledge management, an administrator has the ability to hire and train highly qualified staff in an effort to ensure the students are getting the best education they can get. An efficient campus leader is able to maintain relations between staff member by keeping a pulse on issues that arise and then passing along needed knowledge to the staff on how best to deal with problems.
Gorton, Richard; Alston, Judy A. (2009). School Leadership and Administration. McGraw-Hill Irwin. New York, NY
Hislop, D. (2013). Knowledge management in organizations: A critical introduction (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.