Category: Impact on Learning

  • Learning and the Arrogance of Academics

    We say that learning can happen anywhere at any time. But we educators build systems that require certification. That is, you haven’t officially learned until someone certifies you. You haven’t officially been schooled until an association accredits you. You haven’t officially been educated until a certified and accredited organization degrees you. We say that learning…

  • Summer Slide Starting Early

    Several op-ed articles have been published warning of the impact of an early summer slide due to the current educational shutdown. They often posit that a whole generation of students will be lesser-educated due to large scale losses in learning. Summer slide is a peculiar thing. If a student “loses” learning after 8 weeks of…

  • Be The Change, But Not This Time

    Sometimes we change. Sometimes things change. Sometimes we change things. But these three rarely happen in a single sphere all at the same cadence. The famous quote says, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Knowing when to be the change, and when to adapt to change is a subtle insight that may…

  • 4 Steps to Obliterate Obstacles

    Whether it’s a thorn or a dam, an obstacle can stop progress. As a leader, it falls on your shoulders to remove obstacles. Here are 4 simple steps to obliterate obstacles: Find the consensus that something is truly an obstacle. Next, gain clarity on the obstacle and label it. Facilitate a shared vision for the…

  • John Dewey and Thinking

    “We only think when we are confronted with problems.” – John Dewey Yes and no. Yes, our thinking is pushed into strategic cognition when confronted with problems. We engage in intention-driven critical thinking. No, it’s not the only time we think. We also think when we play, but it’s not the same type of thinking.…

  • Literacy Program Macro Red Flag

    You don’t need test scores to evaluate the effectiveness of your k-12 literacy programs. Simply look at your middle schools. Do they need to double block ELAR? That’s all you need to know that your k-5 program is in need of help…regardless of how in love the director is with the model. It doesn’t matter…

  • Persist in Doing

    Yesterday’s post focused on the permission to struggle, but why is that important to learning? Ralph Waldo Emerson gave an explanation some time ago: “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing itself is changed, but that our power to do is increased.” ___…

  • Permission to Struggle

    For teams, it’s the fringe of conflict where creativity is found. For individuals, it’s in the struggle where learning occurs. However, no one wants to be embarrassed about a struggle. No one deserves to be shamed for a struggle. The struggle is not moral or ethical or worthy of any type of judgment. It’s merely…

  • Goal-Setting with Students

    We know goal-setting is linked to higher achievement in students. Yet many schools I talk to have no structures in place to facilitate systemic goal-setting among students. What’s more, when I speak with teachers, they often feel that the district-mandated goal-setting structures are ineffective, cumbersome, or simply a “waste of time”. I’m left with a…

  • Results and Decisions

    School A: We bought xyz math program, and our scores went up 18% compared to last year! School B: We also bought xyz math program, but our scores went down 2% compared to last. These same two scenarios can be said if you replace xyz math program with anything… PLC norms SMART goals Collaboration time…

  • Collaboration and Co-Learning

    Collaboration is the co-laboring toward a common end result. Yet, part of the work in schools is learning work. The work of learning together can unite a team. It can provide commonalities and strengthen bonds between teammates. This is especially true in a learning organization such as a school. That’s why instructional leadership includes more…

  • Questions that Build Instructional Systems

    Managing the curriculum and instruction is different than leading curricular development or leading instructional change. Listen to these 18 Questions in 8 Minutes Consider these questions that build instructional systems: What are this school’s predominant instructional practices? Who will be responsible for formative classroom visits? What leading and lagging indicators am I monitoring each month?…

  • Example of a Data Dashboard

     I speak often of smart data, AB testing, and data dashboards. Here’s one example from a school I work with.   You’ll notice the data is neither test scores nor passing rates. Rather, it is:  Specific to what the student has mastered.Prescriptive to what the student is ready to learn.  In last week’s post, What If Schools, I hinted…

  • Improve, Not Prove

    There’s a secret to continuous innovation cycles. Instead of seeking to prove, seek to improve. It’s a tempting trap to seek data that proves what you’re doing is working. Fishing for the positives usually leads to fundamental attribution error. It reinforces the status quo. Instead, seek to improve. It only takes a small increment. Two…

  • When You Know The Impact…

    You might just try a little harder. In 2007, researchers published a study of the work patterns of hotel maids. They were interested in seeing the amount of exercise involved in their jobs. When asked, “Do you exercise?” most maids responded, “No.” Hotel maids do not typically consider their job to be a form of…