Recently, I had a discussion with some educational leaders on my campus about what is effective in education. Some of those leaders had attended a day long presentation on Visible Learning. I was interested in the book and the research, but also very questioning of it all. I think it is hard to find research for education that is irrefutable. I’m curious as to what others think on this as well. I guess I’m sort of a skeptic on buying into educational research without doing some research of my own first. Ha!
I believe that teaching is an art. It has so many characteristics, variables, options, etc (whatever word you want to use). My role as an instructional coach, I think, is to expose students and teachers to new and better ideas so they can use which ones best fit themselves as teachers and their students as learners. There is a lot of research saying this strategy is the most effective, or this strategy is only sort of effective. But is that research valid? Aren’t there TOO many variables to determine what is effective? All schools, teachers, students are different. So how do we determine what is the most effective?
Instead of just reading books on what’s most effective in education, I want to rely on more ways of encouraging students and teachers to question ideas and to try new things. Teachers and students should be finding out what works and experimenting. If something doesn’t work, then that’s okay. We can keep going. I do believe in research in that it can lead us down a path of growing, learning, changing, innovating. But I don’t buy into the idea of one size fits all or one person’s research (or one person compiling research) is what’s best for all kids in all classrooms.
What I really like is this from Edventures of a Teacher Mom. Have you read this blog? I LOVE this part of one of the posts (it’s an Acrostic):
Invest in their people (investment vs. expenditure)
Network. Get outside of the walls of their office, classroom, school.
Nurture relationships. Care for their people.
Open their heart. Share their hopes, dreams and fears. Let their people see their human side and who they really are.
Voice, choice and autonomy.
Act as a role-model, and risk-taker.
Trust their people more than they feel comfortable with.
Empathize with their people. Understand who they are, what they hope, what they fear, etc.
I think the blogs and ideas from educators around the world has so much power! I read her acrostic (and the rest of her blog postings for that matter) and found myself nodding along in agreement and being delightfully surprised in her working and how it all just makes SO MUCH SENSE in connecting innovation to learning.
Speaking of research, Jim Knight (who focuses on Instructional Coaching) talks about how CONVERSATIONS (really, better conversations) are the LIFEBLOOD of a school. That the biggest way to change a school, to make an impact is to improve the conversations that are happening. Sheila in her post says “It’s all about the heart work.” That is so powerful. I think her thoughts, Jim Knight’s thoughts tie in perfectly with the importance of Relationships from The Innovator’s Mindset…from what George Couros and Katie Martin have been talking about. And really, what almost all of the #IMMOOC participants have blogged about.
If you think about all of the pieces of a school, of learning, of people, of innovation…isn’t it all really about conversations and relationships? Aren’t those what make us human? What make us connect, learn, and grow? I think we all know this, it’s just nice to think about it, talk about it out loud, and blog about it.
Thanks for listening! I hope we can have a conversation, a better conversation that is about innovation, learning, growing, changing and being!