ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership Preview: Opening General Session with Eric Jensen


ASCD’s Conference on Educational Leadership is right around the corner and we are here to provide you with a sneak peek into the conference schedule. The conference promises to give school leaders like you new ideas for your leadership knowledge base, help you focus on what matters most in leadership, and connect you with global educational leaders. Stay tuned here on Inservice each week for more insight on what is to come at the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership.

Eric Jensen on leadership and the brainBy Eric Jensen

I am excited about my upcoming general session “Leading with the Brain in Mind: Five Approaches to 21st Century Leadership.” Leadership is all about inspiring others to a new way of thinking and taking others to new, grounded understanding. But changing the brain is the underlying process. Unless you change the brain, all external behaviors remain the same. This powerful session will blow away the myths of leadership and show you that obtaining change is often very different than you think it is. Often change requires a microscopic “nudge” because our brain is susceptible to social concerns. Other times, it requires a huge shift in thinking. How do you get others to shift?

Because I work as a staff developer, I am always looking for ways to increase the odds and integrity of implementation. My research on “brain changing” has led me to discover that, unless I become well-versed on what, why, and how our brain changes, only minor change (if any) will happen. As an example, teachers require far more support than we previously thought. Support can be either for a system or an individual. It used to be highly labor intensive. But I have found alternative types of support that bring about the eye-popping results with little time and effort. These research-based ideas will turn your leadership into a juggernaut of sustainable, positive energy.

One secret is learning how to “sow the seeds” before you even present the ideas. Most leaders are so excited about their new idea that they forget that others are not anywhere close to their level of enthusiasm. Wise leaders know how to build a cognitive, emotional, and psychological climate in which their idea is far more likely to be accepted and endorsed. And this approach is just one of the five approaches to 21st century leadership.

We look forward to seeing you at the conference. Bring your “A” game to conference, because we’re about to upgrade you to an “A+” game.

Editor’s Note: Eric Jensen is the author of several ASCD books, including Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do About It and Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 2nd Edition. His forthcoming publication—Engaging Students with Poverty in Mind: Practical Strategies for Raising Achievement—is available for pre-order.