Why a Master’s Degree now?

“You did it… You did it”, the words of Professor Higgins from My Fair Lady were ringing in my ear as I drove home from University this afternoon – yes I did it – I’ve enrolled and started my Masters in Education course at Monash University.

Today was the second day on campus and it’s 18 years plus years since I was a student at University. This, of course, is not counting my time at Harvard University over the past few years at their summer institutes. I really enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of learning – of study – it’s not so quiet at my primary school. I enjoyed the time to think, to read, to ponder, to talk to the many aspirant teachers wanting to learn about leadership in the course – and of course the time free of the distractions and interruptions.

I have DEECDto thank for supporting my part time study. The Victorian Department have a strong theory of action that when you build the capacity of leaders and teachers improvements in students learning will come.

Last night for homework I read the first 3 chapters of “The Wounded Leader” by Ackerman and Pat Maslin- Ostrowski. The narratives of the wounded principals and leaders were a real call to reflect on some of my “wounds” over the years – had I moved on or learnt from the isolation, fear and vulnerability  that these wounds bring out. I need to read more of the narratives to make stronger comments and reflection on what healed many of my wounds.  



I’m looking forward to tomorrow when we talk about Roland Barth’s work Learning by Heart. I was honoured to hear him speak at the Harvard Principals’ Centre, an institute that he establish quite a few years ago. Perhaps more of that later.



What intrigues me is the calling for scholarship in leadership. We talk about data informed decisions but I think scholarship goes deeper into inquiry and reflection – those who have read earlier posts might recall my work on deeper levels of inquiry learning for students in schools. Well this course has started with this  what Tina Blyth calls a through-line of internal inquiry into oneself and what emerges about ourselves in this public life of leadership.

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5 Responses to Why a Master’s Degree now?

  1. Don Ledingham says:


    I use a John Dewey paraphrase, which I picked up from one of the sessions at Harvard two years ago, as my Learning Log strapline.

    I think it says it all:

    “We learn from our experience…..if we reflect upon our experience” John Dewey


  2. mwalker says:

    Thanks Don and Josie for your support. I have writen a further reflection on life so far as a student. This week I get to read the original works of Dewey which I’m looking forward to. I have often spoken about him – constructivist theory – and I have read summaries of his work but reading the original work – although somewhat deep and layered with democratic thoughts [initial reading] will be good.

  3. Don Ledingham says:

    Well done Mark! You’ll love it.

    It will be fascinating to watch how your learning impacts upon your practice.

    All the best


  4. Josephine Stokes says:

    Congratulations Mark on taking the opportunity to start you Masters.
    We will never stop learning!
    I know I love studying, and being challenged in my beliefs and thinking.


  5. Tina Blyth work goes into internal inquiry into oneself and what emerges about ourselves in this life.

Interested in your thoughts