|Read about the Ladder of Influence|
As I read these articles, I noticed a number of statements that may be true in some situations, but are certainly not true in other situations. We have to be careful about projecting what's right and good broadly and too quickly unless we're talking about overarching goals such as love, kindness, health, and education.
For example, health is a positive goal for all people--we know people who are healthy generally have better lives. How we reach that health goal in our local communities may differ somewhat from one community to another. It's important for every community to look at the data and potential, then find ways to help that community reach the best possible health for every community member. Of course there are givens which are broadly supportive, givens such as access to quality health care for all, eliminating unhealthy activity as much as possible, and the availability of healthy foods.
Rather than spending time on fads, it's important for communities to embrace good processes for decision making and betterment. Yet, as part of that process, it's good to give time and resources to support trying out new ideas because too slow and "safe" process can distance a community from the good work possible.
So as we begin the new school year we need to think about the decisions we make for our indidvidual work and the decisions that are made for the teaching/learning community. Which decisions serve your students and community well? Which decisions may have been rushed or made more for popularity and marketing rather than good work?
In part, Valerie Strauss from the Washington Post, speaks of this issue in her recent column. Also during this week's "Hosting Conversations" presentation at the MTA Summer Conference, I was introduced to the "Ladder of Influence" which outlines the steps that individuals naturally use when reacting to information. It's likely that communities also react with a similar "Ladder of Influence" if there are not good systems or processes in place.
In all things we do it's the right balance of tried-and-true traditional practice and new thoughtful and well grounded insights, research, ideas, and/or intuition that lead our communities ahead. When we stay too mired in past practice, we don't grow, but when we too quickly and broadly jump into new innovations, ideas, and popular speak, we risk losing the richness and strength we've built over years. There's no one right way, but it is right to work together using good process to support our communities well.