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Monday, August 01, 2016

Teaching Well: Fear is an Obstacle

At times fear stands tall as an obstacle to good teaching and learning. Why does this happen? What impediments does fear create?

When oppression exists, fear is often a byproduct. Oppressed individuals are often fearful about speaking up, asking questions, or sharing ideas--they're afraid that if they advocate, they will be dismissed or mistreated, and dismissal may mean the inability to care well for their family or sustain a livelihood while mistreatment can cause undue stress and the inability to do one's best work.

Fortunately in education there are unions which protect the rights of workers. Among those rights is the right to respectfully speak up. Further, in Massachusetts, the new education evaluation system actually supports teachers speaking up to support better teaching and learning for all students.

The more educators advocate for good systems of communication, idea share, collective decision making, and distributive leadership, the less fear will take over and the better our systems will run.

The more I write and think about education systems, the more I recognize the potential improved systems hold for better teaching and learning. Old time divides between groups in organizations don't serve us well and the more that the many groups within an organization work together with good process, the more fear will be mitigated and better service to children will develop.

It's time to up our system game in education. We can't operate with old time industrial systems anymore--it's time to maximize the potential that good systems can create to serve all of our children well. This kind of work demands open, transparent, targeted collaborative work that puts students center stage. I see the potential.