By Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach
It is interesting that many feel Facebook is just a lot of fluff, silliness and socialization. This is how my friends roll in Facebook. I posted a poll as a status update and a deep conversation ensued. Would love for you to add your 2 cents to the mix if you are so inclined by commenting below.
Poll: Why do good ideas about teaching and learning have so little impact on educational practice?
Tracy Rosen Because there are too many of them and leaders often ask their communities to flip from one to the other each year. So educators become wary of change, not wanting to invest time changing their practice if it is just going to be dropped when the next ‘flavour of the month’ comes along.
Judi Behrens It is helpful to have educational leaders sift through these ideas and present the ones that best follow the mission and goals of the organization and the goals and terminal outcomes of the learning objectives which are based on student/learner analysis.
Tracy Rosen What about if instead of sifting through the ideas of others to present to one’s organization a leader solicited novel ideas from within the organization?
Judi Behrens Understanding the history of Instructional design theory plays a key role in getting to this stage, Tracy!
Bronwyn Stuckey There need to be innovators with conviction with leadership with vision and trust to sponsor good ideas. We rely very heavily on new or beginning teachers to bring new ideas into schools but they are not change agents or power brokers in schools. They are working to fit in not change. We need to target mature practitioners with sponsors to effect real change (IMHO).
Tracy Rosen I respectfully disagree, Judi! Theory means nothing outside of context, let the organization (people) define the context and their needs and THEN go look for the programs/theory that make sense. If we try to get teachers to change without putting them and their ideas for what is needed at the forefront we get…well, we get a status update like the one Sheryl put out here
Chad J Evans it would be really easy for me to say that it’s because many of “us” don’t have the courage or will to make change happen. At the same time, I also believe that it’s because our beliefs about school are grounded in experiences and opinions as opposed to facts and truths. The disconnect between learning and “school” as we know it is monumental. Change is difficult because the first step, is admitting you have a problem. I wonder how many teachers will admit the problem lies with them. All stakeholders have culpability, but ultimately what happens in my classroom is MY responsibility. Blaming admin, the system, kids themselves is nothing more than excuse. Good ideas die because many of us would rather not admit that we are part of the problem. (I hope this doesn’t come across as too cynical)
Judi Behrens Tracy, a Needs Analysis is a start to finding out what the problems and needs are; then bring in the rest of the theories to help decide where your organization lies within those theories. The ADDIE and ASSURE models of instructional design assist in this process. There is “No Size Fits All” because our students have different needs and learn differently. The teachers today that are not moving foward are doing a disservice to their students and organization.
Judi Behrens Bronwen, there seems to be a lot of differentiation in what our new teachers are being taught and trained for as far as technology use in the classroom. The colleges and universities need to re-evaluate their teaching programs. I went through a class mandated by my state for a teaching position, all we learned was a gamete of “snippets” of different tools. I felt like a “Jack of All trades but a master of none!” I learned a lot about many different tools; but each tool has more to learn how to use then 1 semester can give!
Tracy Rosen And yet…change still isn’t happening…tells me all I really need to know about the effectiveness of top down approaches like needs analyses…
Tracy Rosen But seriously, blaming teachers for resistance to change in a system that mandates it on a revolving basis is like blaming students for not being motivated to learn.
Judi Behrens Tracy doing a Needs Analyses isn’t necessarily “top-down” approach. These models are frameworks and researched to prove that the models work.
Judi Behrens Those resistant to change need to be “led off the bus” (organization) (Collins, J., 2001) Reference: Collins, J. (2001). Good to great: Why some companies make the leap…and others don’t. New York, NY: HarperCollins, Inc.
Tracy Rosen And I still maintain that blaming teachers for resistance to change when it is mandated upon them is like saying students are resistant to learning. If you want to look at theory, look at participatory change theories, appreciative inquiry… Btw, Collins also says that one of the main indicators for moving from good to great is that an organization chooses one thing that they are good at and focuses on that, which goes back to my original comment above re: the revolving door of good ideas for change in education.
Tracy Rosen You want change to take? Teachers need to be invested in it and that can only happen if the impetus for change comes from their ideas, not foisted upon them.
Judi Behrens And if these teachers are not wanting to invest their time in it; what then?
Dave Wolf The current education system consists (generally) of authoritarian and fear based managed organizations . In such a system there is a common practice of ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ in regard to new ideas and doing something other than the status quo.
How to change this? Provide a support system for people who seek constructive change within their organizations. Help those people to learn influencing skills. Help them to understand systems. If you’re in the system and you manage people, provide an environment where it’s not only OK to try new ideas and fail, but where its encouraged. That’s essential to how we learn.
Certainly this is very simplified and its not a full picture, but you get the idea.
Tracy Rosen Ahhh … But I always assume that people want to learn given we provide an environment conducive to it
Dave Wolf Regarding theory and practice…
“Experience by itself teaches nothing… Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. Hence, without theory, there is no learning.”
― W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education
Tracy Rosen …and without context of practice there is no reason to ask any questions.
Bill Ivey I think it all comes down to how you define a “good” idea, and that we all have differing definitions. Some value research, some gut instinct, some a blend. Some value product over process, others process over product, still others both equally. Different balances of focus on content learning, skill acquisition, social development. I feel I have good ideas – and I do, for my goals. But I’ve met people who view me as at best well-intentioned and misguided – and realistically, given their vision and values, maybe I am.
Dave Wolf Good point Bill. It’s helpful to put yourself in the other persons shoes.
Karlana Jester Kulseth Honestly it is because they are not put into good practice as a collaborative effort. There are plenty of good ideas out there. However, many will sit back and wait for others to make the first move or step to get the ball rolling. I’ve seen this happens many times. I can admit I was once that person.
Dave Wolf Hi Tracy – I would agree that theory won’t be effectively applied unless context and how that context came to be are understood at some level for a given situation. Both theory and practice (along with a couple other things) seem to be required in order for learning and improvement to occur.
Twitter weighed in as well:
@markblankenstyn perhaps because we teach the way we’ve been taught. Not always … but sometimes
@KayBisaillon fear of the unknown….
@TXTchr4life Because politicians think they know education . . .
@JCBoarman What gets measured, gets done.
@mdrewettecard I think it’s because teachers generally have very little time to plan, adjust, and integrate new ideas with impunity.
@jorech Apathy, laziness, status quo. Some teachers take it personally that there is something “different” (better) than what they’ve done
So what do you think? Why do good ideas about teaching and learning have so little impact on educational practice?