Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Change your perspective

I just got back from a training seminar on how to be a support coach for the Rising Star program. For those unaware, Rising Star is the new school improvement accountability system for the state of Illinois. The whole point of the Rising Star system is for schools and districts to look at the past and current conditions of their systems in order to make appropriate changes (backed by research) to positively impact student achievement. During this training, we discussed monitoring and sustainability of programs.

Part of the emphasis of the training is to look at the programs and steps of implementation and ask the harder questions about what is not working and why. Part of the challenge to making these changes is the dreaded phrase of "we have always done it this way". My quick response would be "Look where that got you", but that is not supportive to the change process. The entire point of Rising Star is to make changes in our past practices to make vast improvements in our schools.

Whenever we are looking to do something different, why do we often start at what we currently do. We must have made the choices to our current location because they seemed to be the best option at the time. (Sometimes it is a best option for a teacher and not necessarily the students, but that is a different conversation). If that is the case, when we look at the choices to do something different, how would we ever arrive at a different conclusion?

Sometimes it takes standing on your head or flipping your frame of reference. Case in point can be seen here:

Deeper thinking can happen when the status quo is challenged and we look for new perspectives. How's this for a change in perspective: If we want students to be more engaged in the learning process, ask them about their passions! Students can provide the adults with all sorts of ways they want to learn and it will be authentic for them. (And, teachers will get more engaged because they won't be able to pass out the same worksheet they have done for the past umpteen years...)

Deeper thinking can be activated and even framed with aspects of the common core and the next generation science standards. We learn science by doing, not by memorizing! We need to have the credo in our classes and schools that FAIL means First Attempt In Learning!

Go back to basics and when you look at the path you used to take, when you took that right before, this time, jump off of the path and go exploring!

Here are some other ways to consider flipping:

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