Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Continuous Improvement in Education

I recently came across this blog posting, which was shared with me via Twitter, entitled "If You Aren't Trying to Improve, You Really Aren't Doing Your Job."  This caused me stop and reflect on my professional responsibilities as not just a school administrator, but as an educator.  As we all get ready to embark on the second half of our school year, I thought this was a tremendous reminder of the importance of continuous improvement in our profession.

Every profession has a responsibility for continuous improvement.  We expect our doctor to utilize the current best practice in medical care.  We expect our lawyer to know the latest case law.  We expect our accountant to know the current tax code.  We expect our auto mechanic to know the current technology in our car and how to diagnose any problems.  If they were using the same practices they were 50 years ago, we would most definitely look elsewhere for such services.  If we expect...even demand...that our own service providers have taken responsibility for their own continuous improvement, then shouldn't we educators have that same responsibility?  Given what we now know about brain research, assessment, and the impact of technology on learning, shouldn't our classrooms look vastly different than they did 50 years ago?  Do they?

Mike Schmoker wrote "...there is indeed a yawning gap between the most well-known, incontestably essential practices and the reality of most classrooms."  The disturbing thing is, he posited this in his 2006 book, Results Now.  Since that time, I am not sure we are doing a much better job of reading, collaborating, implementing and assessing the latest that educational researchers have discovered about effective classroom instruction.

In the aforementioned blog posting, the author stated...

After a decade in the profession, I feel like there are really just two types of teachers: One wants to learn. The other believes she knows all she needs to know.

And, if you are the latter category, the author argues...

You’re just a body in a chair but not really an educator, not really someone whose job it is to cause learning.

As we start 2013, let's be sure that none of us are "just a body in a chair".  Instead, let's commit to being an educator who "wants to learn" and is committed to using every day as an opportunity to grow and become better at "causing learning" in our classrooms and our schools.

What actions will you take in 2013 to improve yourself as an educator?

1 comment:

  1. Today in the Blog session I learned about three possible ways to utilize blogs in my classroom: addressing a specific topic well, conveying a personal experience as to build community, and learning about fair use.