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Monday, June 06, 2016

Shifting School Schedules: Time for Problem Analysis

There's often a disconnect between "thinkers" and "doers" in education organizations. "Thinkers" spend the time during the day solving problems and making plans while doers enact those plans and solutions.

The space between the "thinkers" and "doers" is often the reason why effective solutions and efforts are not employed. It's often true that from "thinker" to "doer" there is a lapse of communication, energy, investment, and intent.

Rather than a "thinker" and "doer" mentality which is akin to hierarchical, industrial models of management, intersecting circles of distributive leadership can possibly effect better change, growth, and change. This might look like the difference between the action between a hammer and a nail and one of interconnected gears - the hammer/nail is a one time action that creates a connect, but the gears foster an ongoing revolution of movement. (I'll think on this metaphor a bit more)

For example if you identify a problem to solve in the school house such as identifying a group of students who are not making the same progress as others and enlist a diverse group of "thinker/doers" with time and good strategy, you're likely to make more progress with the problem, than if you simply include the old time "thinker" and "doer" hierarchical pattern.

How would you effect this change?

First, you need to create a time/role audit. You'll probably have to shift roles and schedules a bit to carve out time for meaningful, inclusive process that includes both "thinkers" and "doers." It's important that this team include representatives from every group that works with children. For example in my school that would include administrators, coaches, teachers, and education support professionals (ESPs).

Next you would identify a good strategic process. There are practice problem processes available to follow or personalize to your organization. Then, following a good, strategic process, your group would identify the problem in comprehensive ways and work towards solution through a series of efforts, reflections, and revision. Too often strategic process may be in place, but it may not include the right mix of "thinkers" and "doers" to truly effect optimal change.

Good, inclusive, strategic process leads to promising service to students and this work also builds dynamic, collaborative teams too--the kinds of teams that are able to tackle new problems and potential with greater skill, intent, and success.