Armand Doucet speaks on leadership during COVID as part of the uLead Pre-Conference Webinar Series.
The uLead Podcast, brought to you by the Council for School Leadership of the Alberta Teachers' Association.
Episode 11 - Armand Doucet
Corey Haley: [00:00:00] Armand Doucet great to have you on with us today talking about pandemic, education, leadership, everything included. I want to start off our conversation talking a little bit specifically about COVID. So, you know, we've been in this almost two years now and as we think about that longer term dealing with a global pandemic, dealing with education inside of that global pandemic and perhaps a waning pandemic. What do you think that we need to be focusing on right now as we live with COVID and as we perhaps emerge, hopefully out of COVID?
Armand Doucet: That's a great question, Corey. I think a lot of people are struggling with it. I think the struggle comes in multiple forms. The first one really is short-term solutions without any kind of long-term vision.
So we keep adding like mini programs or we're keep adding mini solutions [00:01:00] or, trying to problem solve for the moment without really keeping an eye on long-term, what are the effects of this? It's not everyone that can do that day-to-day decision-making and long-term visioning and finding solutions that can answer both.
And I think during COVID-19, I think that's the biggest issue that I'm seeing at the moment is that we are responding as if it was complicated versus complex. And we had been doing that for quite some time and education already in all jurisdictions, really where we keep adding programs, we keep adding different elements without looking at the unintended consequences that those have, and without merging them with the programs that already exist or with the practices are that are already there.
And I think we need to rethink that going forward. You know, we've heard of building back [00:02:00] better. I mentioned that at the start, but the truth of the matter is that we need to bring back education to the communities and we need to bring back education to have a local governance where we are looking at it from a full picture, not from, you know, just that education lens or just a pedagogical lens or just a restorative practice or you know, guidance, this is a really complex issue, education is. Education and whole, and then you add humans and humans are complex, right? And every situation is different. And I think that that's been the biggest issue during COVID is not necessarily these programs that we've put into place, or, you know, people are talking about learning loss, there is no learning loss. That doesn't exist in COVID what, because we are the ones that actually put those different checkpoints. So if we decide that there is no learning loss [00:03:00] and we are going to address it directly where it is, and we'll go from there because they're checkpoints that we have put into place, humans. So if we decide to move that barometer, we can, right. And we did!
Many places they shut down, standardized testing, right at the start. And again, when I'm talking about unintended consequences, when they shut down all standardized testing, you know what, the number one thing popped up. And I saw that across jurisdiction was all of a sudden, you had students that were like, well, why am I learning? So that question alone makes me rethink, well, what were we doing? If they were only learning to go to a test, then that is directly counter everything we've talked about in education and everything we talk about in terms of what do we want from our students? And we want lifelong learners. We want them engaged. We want them curious but then you had half of the population. It's almost like the Marvel comic where dyno snaps his fingers and half the people go, well, you know, somebody snapped their fingers, no more standardized [00:04:00] testing. And then half the students were like, well, okay, I guess I don't have to study anymore.
I'm seeing that now where the bell curve used to be, you know, you'd have a traditional bell curve in terms of assessment in the classroom. Now there's really two clear bell curves. There's one group that kind of know where they're going are engaged and understand and know where they want to go. And then you have another group that are kind of lost. I don't know if you're seeing that at your school, Corey, but that's something that's clearly in my mind. And I have nightmares about is the fact that we keep putting on band-aids is what I call it instead of looking at the whole picture and the unintended consequences.
One that you know is probably not going to be too popular with any body but we used to have guidelines for screen time and the guidelines, the younger you were was, you know, 15 minutes of screen time, half hour of screen time for early elementary. And then all of a sudden, no you can be online for five hours. Why didn't anybody say "Whoa stop"? We've had guidelines for a reason. We have [00:05:00] skyrocketing mental health issues. Could this be actually one of the reasons why? Can we rethink how we're going to approach this, particularly in hybrid models and in only online learning? But you almost didn't hear anybody say anything. It was, this is the solution let's run with it. And everybody kind of ran with it.
And I'm wondering about the snowball effect of the mental health and then the addictions too. And everything else that comes with that online learning for younger brains. I'm not talking older adults. We can still make those decisions and those calls, but we are mandating younger kids after we've had almost 30 years of guidelines that have said :half hour a day, maybe 45 minutes, maybe an hour at the older age group, but now you've got to stay in front of a camera and in front of a television set for this amount of time. So I think that there's an unintended consequences there. Nobody's really talked about it, but that's a massive one.
What about teacher burnout? So if you have all cameras on the [00:06:00] situational awareness alone. You're in a classroom, you have situational awareness and you can classroom management and you're in the same setting. You have the camera on for your classroom, when you're online, there's anywhere between 28 to 35, depending on which province you are in Canada, different settings.
Somebody might be in their bedroom, somebody is in their living room, somebody's in the office, somebody is at the coffee house, somebody is in their kitchen. You've got multiple people flying around. No wonder people are burnt out and no wonder people have like complete fatigue after a classroom. They're monitoring all these different settings and trying to figure out who's engaged. Who's not engaged, what's going on and they need to do it in instant time. Like those types of things have unintended consequences that nobody's talking about all right.
They're talking about loosely, like different things take care of your health and all this kind of stuff, but we're not really talking about long-term and I think that's the key for COVID for me is that, you know, we have a lot of [00:07:00] administrators around the world, a ton of them, but we need leadership. That's not the same thing.
Leadership is about creating the opportunities to communicate, giving them the opportunities to people, to voice their concerns, and then doing something with it. And it's not just about mandating what you believe should be done. It's really about listening.
The second thing with leadership, it's about giving hope when hope is taken away and you need to create the structures and the cultures to be able to do that. I do feel we have a lot of administrators globally. I'm not going to say any jurisdiction in particular, that are masquerading as leaders. And that includes our politicians. That includes our deputy ministers across the board. That includes the, you know, there's a lot of people that are really caught with "This is a complex situation. I don't know how to handle it. So I'm going to revert to what I know" instead of looking at, okay, we're in the middle of a storm, we're in a ship, what can I do to give hope to everyone? What can I do to stabilize the situation so they can focus on what they need to do? But instead, what we're getting is constant changes of guidelines, which really affects the [00:08:00] classroom.
We get a lot of people, policy makers that are used to long-term planning all of a sudden making day to day decisions that are affecting the classroom and the classroom culture. Nobody's asked anybody about that, but that impact is massive. It's you know, every time you change a guideline, students react to that.
That reaction creates issues with classroom culture, with engagement, with studying habits, you name it. Right. And I think those are some of the elements, you know, it has brought also forward the need for proper and true communication for all stakeholders to participate in education.
I think people have realized that the equity piece is massive and that it really does impact our classrooms and that we need to find some more synergies. And I've always said this, but if we're willing to pay three meals a day for a war or prisoners, why the heck are we not paying three meals a day for students?
Right? Why are we not investing the money for the people that cannot [00:09:00] afford it? So that they can eat and, don't go throughout the day suffering and all throughout the world, we're seeing a massive jump on that, but you know, it shouldn't just be during COVID -19 these programs need to continue to know don't need to be dumped on the schools. We need help.
Corey Haley: A lot of the issues that you're just talking about, you know, complicated versus complex, these arbitrary levels of learning that we have put in place for students, the questions around why we are running and this long-term thinking, you know, I really feel that they can be solved by great school leadership. And just as you said, not bureaucratic management, not all of this, short-term thinking. But I'm also wondering, because I know that you read a lot and I know you think about this a lot, what are some of the people that you have been seeing or have been reading or been talking to and saying, "Hey, this is a great model." This is a person who had some good thinking around what real leadership is [00:10:00] and their ideas are going to help us move through COVID, the pandemic, and beyond no matter what happens. Great leadership can help us. Who are some of the names who are some of the books? What are some of the people?
Armand Doucet: That's a phenomenal question. I completely agree with you. Leadership is the key and I mean, you can coach leadership. There's no question there. And you could coach administration and we do need administrators, and we do need managers in terms of that kind of it in terms of what we're doing and so on.
But leadership's harder because leadership is gut instincts and it's feeling the culture. It's feeling the situation. It's being empathetic and it's making the call that might not be popular, but it's probably the right call at that point. Versus management. Somebody told you from above and you have that cover, right?
Two vastly different things. Whether we like it or not. I, you know, I read through Simon Sinek's book again. Leaders eat last, but he talks about basically the difference between leadership and management and talks about the Jack Lynch model of leadership or administration back in [00:11:00] the eighties and nineties, right. Lee park, the car guru.
And he talked about the competitiveness of that and the drive and that managerial drive that in silos that we kind of adopted in education for accountability. He talks about the more human humanistic leadership and how you protect the people around you. Now with distributed leadership and education, it's almost as if everybody kind of washes their hands out of making the decision and protecting the team.
Oh, everybody decided to make this decision together and, and, and there's a lot of strengths to distributed leadership. Don't get me wrong on that. And you want to get everybody on board. And I get that there's no I in team, but at the end of the day, the people that you lead you're in service of, and they need to feel protected and they need to feel comfortable to be able to take the risks that they need to reach the students that they have.
And they won't feel that if they feel that you're only checking off boxes. So I think that's a book that I re-read, and that really [00:12:00] hit home in terms of, when you're in a position of leadership, it's not about you. It's about the people you lead, and that means sacrifice for the people in leadership. And it's rough. It's not easy being in that position, especially certainly school leadership where you don't really have a chance to share with other colleagues. And even when you do it, it's not necessarily what you need and sometimes you don't want to open up. Right. Those situations are quite complex.
Other books that I've been reading right now. The one that kind of funny enough resonates. Most of them have not been about education. I'm reading a lot of articles from the OECD, from UNESCO. From Fullan or Hargraves, kind of my usual subjects and a lot of different blogs that have been coming out, Education International in particular.
But apart from education, the ones that have really resonated with me have nothing to do with education. So the first one is called Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. And Atul Gawande came out with two books before, one was called Better, and the other one's The Checklist Manifesto, which is a phenomenal book in terms of checklists.
In Checklist Manifesto, he talks about the [00:13:00] mundane. You have a checklist to make sure you don't forget anything to free up your Headspace for professionals to be able to do what they do, when they need to do it. Right? So it's quite interesting book, but the Being Mortal has nothing to do about education, nothing to do about checklists. He talks about palliative care and he talks about end of life.
And this is a rough book to go through. My parents are aging, you know, I'm in my forties. I don't think I'm having a midlife crisis, but who knows? And this book got me teary eyed. You know, throughout the book as I'm reading it. And I'm trying to think to myself, what kind of life do I want? What kind of life do I want at the end of my life?
He talks about how the medical profession have basically gotten it wrong. We've dumped more and more money into barbaric prescriptions, clinical trials, trying to treat different diseases, instead of having the tough conversation.
Basically saying, look you will have stage four lung cancer. You only have a quarter of a lung left. [00:14:00] Realistically, you've got three to six months, 90%. This is what's going on. He talks about three different types of doctors in this situation, doctor paternalistic, which would have been more of an old school doctor expert Sage on the stage. This is what you're going to do and these are the reasons why.
Then he talks about doctor informative, which he considers himself to be, which is: here are the 12 different treatments that are out there, here are the percentage points, which one do you want? Basically overwhelming the patient completely. And the patient kind of says, well, this has got a 90% chance of, and you know, 10% of the people survive. I'm going to do this. Right.
And then there's doctor interpretive, which takes all that data and then sits down and asks the patient, what do you want? What are the things that are important to you? What are the things that are important to your family? If I told you you had six months, what kind of life did you want? Do you want to be going, getting up vomiting? Do you wanna be feeling lethargic? Do you want to be feeling confused? Do you want to, [00:15:00] you know, die at home. Those types of questions, the questions that a lot of doctors are not comfortable talking about.
So Being Mortal, funny enough about education, what it made me think of is the system that we've created. What have we done that during COVID-19 many of our students, the moment we took out, the standardized testing and a lot of jurisdictions decided. I'm done. I don't have anything to learn. What kind of system that we built that we've taken away. Curiosity we've taken away the passion for lifelong learning that we've taken away the ability for teachers within their classroom to try to connect with kids in a different way than just the curriculum.
As I'm reading through Atul Gawande I'm finding so many parallels with large scale systems that are completely disconnected from the communities that they serve and have created policies that cannot be contextualized, that are not flexible enough, or are not realizing that, in places like Paris and London, Teachers [00:16:00] are basically bunking up six to an apartment to be able to serve a school that they would never be able to send their kids on. They can't afford to live there. And that's basically what the red movement was in the United States. They have three jobs because they can't feed their kids.
I'm kind of looking at it from that perspective. And we talk about a profession, but we oftentimes don't treat it that way. And so, Being Mortal really had me reflecting on so many different levels about education and about the teacher's responsibility and the school leader's responsibility and the parents' responsibility within this and having those tough conversations and with truth and candor, there's so much truth in the hallways.
Ed Catmull talks about that at Pixar. There's so much truth in the hallways, but there's no truth in the boardrooms oftentimes, or the truth comes out we don't want to address it. So I think that's an important book that I've been reading.
I've read another one by Joe Navarro, who was an FBI expert, behavioral analysis called be exceptional.[00:17:00] He talks about the master, the five traits that set extraordinary people apart. One of the key ones is communication. And that to me is something that I've been looking a lot more into on how can I connect with people on a deeper level? How can I be more present? How can I create opportunities to communicate, for them to be able to speak their truth, and me to listen to it.
He talks a lot about that and I thought it was really important to kind of bring that out. And one of the things that he says is create the opportunities to communicate. Don't assume, create them. And exceptional people, what he talks about is that he doesn't wait until they come into the boardroom. He doesn't wait that they send an email. He doesn't create a setting, artificial setting, he goes and meets them on their turf.
He talked about a FBI director, the head of the FBI, who used to drive two and a half hours to go running at 6:00 AM with the trainees, at the Depot, and the FBI longstanding [00:18:00] officers to have conversations with them without any filters.
So think about it from this perspective, if you had a superintendent or a CEO of a system. The ones that will go into the schools, walk around without an agenda. Just to meet with people, just to have those conversations, just to know exactly what's going without any filters, because by the time the communications get to them, it's gone through five or six different paradigms, five or six people that have gone and filtered that information that it's like a telephone game.
What is really happening? You need to go see. Joe talks about that. How that was one of the ways that he went to the front lines to really feel okay, what are the people that really affect these positions? What are they feeling? What are they seeing? What's the system stopping them from being able to do? What do they need to be able to do their jobs?
And if you think about education, the amount of red tape that we have, and the amount of [00:19:00] hoops that we need to jump through and, you know, as a school leader, the amount of administration work that keeps you away from actually being able to be in a classroom and help teachers grow is tremendous. Right. So how do you create those times?
So those are kind of the books that I've been reading at the moment, and I'm going down that road of exploring multiple different paradigms and multiple different subjects to see how they affect education in different ways. Because I truly do believe that innovation comes from taking things from other elements and then bringing them in and see how you can contextualize that to make it work.
And sometimes education we're really close knit and we don't really let anything come in and we don't accept any reflection or feedback from anything else. Apart from the business world, which seems to be like the management from the business world seems to be like, this is the way we're going. No matter what, forget the fact that the return on investment in the business world has to go to shareholders or somebody that owns the business.
Us, the return on investment is not completely clear. [00:20:00] And when you talk about humans. We're talking long-term investment. It's not an expense. And whenever I hear a government talk about education as an expense, I have real issues with that. I think that's kind of where I'm at in terms of my leadership points of view and the books that I've been reading.
Corey Haley: I want to come back on one of the things that you talked about, and that is that sometimes we are closed and I want to pick up on that, sometimes we're closed within our industry, but sometimes we're closed within our province or country or state or jurisdiction. And one of the perspectives that I really appreciate that you have is that you see some of the work being done in other parts of the world.
I was wondering, is there one thing that you have seen that someone's doing right now that addresses some of the concerns that you have, and you're saying, Hey, do you know what? I think that this is a really good idea. And I'd love to explore that in our context, whether that be a Canadian context, whether that be one of our provincial contexts.
Armand Doucet: So phenomenal [00:21:00] question. So you're basically looking for the one great bet.
Corey Haley: And I don't, I don't put it all my eggs in one basket because we also realize that, you know what, at any given point, there's a whole bunch, but you're like, Hey, that this has piqued my interest. And I'm thinking, you know what? This is an interesting idea to explore.
Armand Doucet: If you don't mind, I'm going to say two. You know, I am privy to a lot of information. And the more that I get involved in some of these conversations and the more I participate in them and the more I get invited to speak or to join in some of these projects. Funny enough, I feel like I've got a ton more to learn.
I feel like I don't know nothing. And that drives my curiosity because I do consider myself a decent teacher. I wouldn't say great. I wouldn't say awful. But I do consider myself decent. Like in some days I really hit the mark and, and everybody's thriving. And other days I struggled to connect with somebody.
The more I [00:22:00] discuss and the more we have these types of podcasts and I join into some of these conversations that are happening, that really is what's sticking with me the most is the more I have to continue to learn. And because it's such a complex, and it really is complex. And the complexity kind of theories out there.
The more I realized that I have to continue to learn if I want to continue to have an impact. And I told you I've got three, but I've got two, but I've actually got three. The first one actually comes from a book and not from what I've seen globally. And it's called Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal.
He talks about the complexity theory and he talks about flatlining the communication system and that we need to be more nimble so that we have shared consciousness and shared purpose. And then from that empowered execution. When we talked about a bit earlier about administrators versus leadership, when the leadership's not there, [00:23:00] you don't have the empowered execution.
So sometimes there's a shared consciousness. Sometimes there's a shared purpose, but at the front lines, people do not feel like they are empowered to execute. I think a lot of our school leaders feel that at the moment. They feel handcuffed. They don't feel supported. They feel the system so big, feel like they're kind of left alone to their own devices till something hits the fan. And then all of a sudden they don't get the support they need.
They're kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. So I, I think that one is something that I can bring back that we've, we've already seen parts of that, like Flip the System book by Jelmer Evers from the Netherlands, which really talked about, you know, giving more of a voice to the people that need the most help, which would be the ones that are influencing student learning. The most directly, and that could include our parents. So I think that's one.
I think the second one that I've really seen that resonates with me is the work from UNESCO, right from the start where they rallied [00:24:00] partners about two months into the pandemic and they created this big summit on equity issues and how to solve the equity issues. And I thought to myself, it took a pandemic for you guys to realize what was going on or you just decided to finally listen, right?
It's like walking in San Francisco. If you walk in San Francisco, there's parts of San Francisco that are absolutely beautiful, but I can remember walking in two streets. I have never seen so many homeless people on the streets. It's almost as if people have turned a blind eye to it. Instead of actually acknowledging it.
And we talked about communication and creating that communication, but once you're communicated that there's some massive issues you need to deal with it. Like you need to step up and create and have those conversations and bring the people together and figure out ways to move your community forward.
I think we forget that in the social media world, you're more connected than you've ever been, but you're more disconnected within your community and at the end of the day, [00:25:00] it's your community that will help or scuttle you right at the end of the day. All boats rise on rising tides. But I think we forget about that.
I don't know if that's the culture from the United States that's coming in, the "me, myself and I" kind of culture that's been overwhelming over the last couple of years. For a pandemic to happen for us to rally for the equity issue, I think is really concerning. I think that's woken up communities on their roles in public education.
And I talk about public education particular because I do think public education is the key to strong societies and strong democracies. The moment you start pulling out the haves and the have-nots, then we're going to struggle as a society and we already are.
So I think that point then brings to my, in that second point, the work that Rebecca went through and the Brookings Institute have done with engaging community, which we're bringing to CSL actually in the next two talks.
It's a 310 page report. It's a [00:26:00] massive behemoth, but the amount of really good things that come out of that report. And I have to say that Rebecca is probably one of the people that I respect the most in education research, because their last book before that was called Leap-Frogging Innovations, where they brought the 3000 innovations from around the world, all in one hub. And then anything you kind of want to know about education they have in that hub. And you can go take a look at what's worked and what hasn't. So what's worked in rural areas in Columbia versus what's worked in rural areas in Canada. I find her work is very interesting because it's solutions to some of the issues that we have right now and engaging community is a key one. And we've realized that during the pandemic. So I think her work is probably the second one that I would really bring forward.
And then the third one is actually some work that I've been doing with Beatriz Pont that we had the first CSL on, which is bridging the policy and practice gap. It's not because I want to toot my own horn, but the [00:27:00] reason why I'm bringing that forward is I feel in education sometimes that we talk to each other, we are not communicating. And I know we talked about this before the podcast, and there's a great George Bernard Shaw quote that talks about communication and the fact, the illusion that we've actually have communicated, I can't remember the exact quote word for word, but that happens all the time in education.
You know, we're calling parents up, we think we're on the same page, but we're not. Or talking with students, we think we're on the same page, but we're not. Sometimes it's not the same vocabulary that we're speaking. Oftentimes it's actually assumption think this is why it's happening instead of having those conversations.
That to me is one of the key issues, we're in a human and relationship profession. And if we can't talk to each other. If we can't actively listen to ask questions for clarification, instead of listening to finding out what the solutions are and [00:28:00] answering them.
And I'm horrible at that, and I'm getting better. I've been reading up on it and so on to try to sit down, be quiet. There's a great book called Ask For More by Alexandra Carter. Who's the Director of the Center for Mediation at Columbia University. This woman is extremely bright. She talks about silence as landing the plane. Land the plane, ask the question, shut up. "Corey, tell me about your summer" and just feel that awkward silence. And wait till you answer, don't ask another question. You just had a great open-ended question, but 90% of the time she says we then fill it in because of the awkward silence with another question that closes it in really quickly. And we don't actually get the information that we're looking for.
So I think the third part is really about communication and, and how much is not happening, but we perceive that it is.
Corey Haley: We've talked a lot about the issues and the things that we're a bit worried about and [00:29:00] you know how to solve some of the problems that we seem facing. But I want to finish this off with something a little bit more positive because you know, there is some positive that has come out of cOVID-19 in terms of education.
I'd like to know what are some, either one, and because you're usually not a guy that likes to get backed into a corner with one answer, I'm sure you'll have more than one, positives that you're seeing, that you think are going to be maybe long-term well, what's going to stick with us that you think is a positive outcome from COVID-19 around education?
Armand Doucet: A rethink of technology's place, I think has been a positive. I have been a critic in terms of ethics when it comes to technology, particularly the softwares and the data mining of kids, but in this situation, having a one-stop shop for learning management system, I think is key for parents to be able to be on the same page as teachers.
I think the blowing the doors off the parent- teacher relationship and Teacher- community relationship. And everybody kind of realizing that, we're in [00:30:00] this together. And so many different instances students are capable of playing the, and the older they get, the better they get at it, but they play all these stakeholders off each other like divorced parents.
And the fact that we now are having some of those conversations to rally together to help these kids. Oftentimes these are the kids that are suffering, that are struggling. Uh, you know, fighting back, but that have a ton of potential. They all do. They just don't realize it and don't understand how to go forward, but they play the system because the system is so large that they can. Right? And time being the biggest issue for all of us. And it's the most precious commodity and it's the one that teachers don't have any of or school leaders for that matter. And in this situation, I think that that's kind of blown the doors off that, and we now have created some situations where we can rally together and an engaging community, which is Rebecca's work, I think is key on that.
The equity piece. The [00:31:00] realization that schools cannot do it alone. I look at my friends in the U S particularly the ones that, you know, their schools, schools are funded by the land taxes, and they're in poor areas and their schools are suffering. You know, it's opened up the eyes on diversity and equity. And in in many ways and how are we going to move this forward. But it's also opened up that conversation on, are we truly a launching pad for everyone, or is that a myth? And I think the rethink there is key. How do we have a proper true launching pad for everyone is a question that I know is arising all over the place. So I think that's something else.
The rethinking of pedagogy and the rethinking of the approach on pedagogical practice, you know, the pendulum has been swinging drastically from left to, right. And it's gone from teacher centered to students centered to PBL all over the place. Forget any of the foundational [00:32:00] knowledge that people need. Cell phones everywhere is forget the fact that, you know, social media is affecting and they get digged 200 times and 45 minutes with notifications.
I think we're rethinking some of these approaches and, and we're reflecting on the unintended consequences. Like we talked about for the complexity, which I think is key.
I think we need to have truth and candor about those programs. You know, oftentimes we put programs into place, and then we obviously see some issues, but we plow through them and just say, you know what? Nope, well, this is what we're doing. This is where we're going and not addressing those issues and tweaking them.
Pak Tee Ng talks a lot about it from the Singapore, perspective, but you know, Singapore put in a program for 10 years, but it's not just put in. They tweak it along the way when they see that there is issues. I find a lot of times in Western hemisphere we'll put a program into place, but then we won't listen. We'll just drive it through.
One of the things that really popped into my mind is the jurisdictions around the world, that union and government and [00:33:00] governments, respect of the profession, and they worked hand in hand to move forward. Those ones were really successful. It really showcase the, the need for that type of relationship. The places where they had been battling for quite some time, that vision of education, that it's an occupation and that AI is going to be able to do it. We want to do it online and we want to get away from the expense. Instead of thinking about an investment, those, those jurisdictions really struggled and they struggled hard and I mean, you can go out and all you have to do is Google a few words and you'll see some of those and it's quite flagrant.
But I think those are the main elements of what we're kind of seeing. And we're also seeing that we need to rethink, what does the school day look like? You know, what does health mean? What does health of your teachers mean? What does health of your school leaders mean? What is the health of the community? Why is this asset that is a school [00:34:00] only used part of the time when we have a full community that could engage in it.
You know, I know in Alberta it's a bit different than in New Brunswick, and in other areas in Canada, but we've got a reverse pyramid happening with our society at the moment. Right. You know, there's a lot more people in the 60 plus age group than there are births happening, which is going to create a massive drain on our nation, really is what it is.
And this is happening across the Western hemisphere and in Europe, and so on. Why have we not, like Being Mortal talks about, you know, having your last year's being active quality life. Why have we not thought about how can we merge these two big issues together? You know, we have an expertise from the 60 plus the people that are retiring that you can only get from having worked your whole life.
And then all of a sudden we put them out to pasture. And we put them out to pasture and say, no, you're retired, you're done. That's all right. [00:35:00] Instead of saying, you know what, you could come back and we can talk about, you know, community garden programs. And then those community Garden programs could be soup kitchens, and we could use the kitchen that's in the high school that's basically an industrial kitchen. We could have programs for reading and literacy. And I know some people do that, but they're all hodgepodge programs instead of really merging it together.
What about physical education? Right? Like there's, there's so many different elements that we could be really leaning on our elders and having them give back in a meaningful way. That would give purpose to life for a lot of them that don't feel that purpose anymore. And I think those kinds of elements and rethink, I think, is something that you know, is coming out of this pandemic that could end up being good.
And then last but not least exactly what we've been talking about, the whole podcast, we need leadership. And why are people shying away from leadership positions? Are we going to have that conversation? Are we going to have the conversation of why [00:36:00] people do not want to lead? Why are they shying away from that? And that is happening across the board. People are struggling with all that weight. And why is that?
Corey Haley: I think you bring up a lot of really good points and a lot of really good questions because ultimately, we don't know. And that speaks to your point about how do we consistently tweak? How do we not just put in a plan and then blindly and arbitrarily follow it through? How do we always keep learning, going back to it and improving things.
So I want to thank you so much for giving us a little bit of your time today. I'm looking forward to the upcoming sessions that we've got with our pre-conference pre-sessions to uLead. And I'm also looking forward to hopefully reconnecting with you during the conference. So thank you very much, Armand and we'll hopefully see you soon.
Armand Doucet: I appreciate it. Corey. I always enjoy our chats and hopefully we will be able to connect at uLead. Thank you for having me.[00:37:00]