Thursday, May 17, 2018

Making Positive Change When There's Little Support

There are some who will not listen to you no matter how many ways you try to discuss an idea or situation with them. They have already decided your words, ideas, and practice are not worth time or attention.

Those people exist in all of our lives and we might play that role towards others. If we do, we have to change as when you close the door to diversity of ideas, practice, and questions, you hinder the potential growth and success of any program or services.

When you continually reach a locked door to debate, discussion, new ideas, or development, at some point you just have to turn and walk away. It's not worth wasting your very good energy and intent to knock on the locked door again and again and again.

This can be problematic if the ideas you have are ideas that can truly impact greater promise and potential with your students or school. It is difficult to give up on ideas that relate to this, and when this happens you have to find another door to knock on or another plan to reach the goals you seek.

As I think more about this, the following question and actions are integral:

  • What is the priority here? Often locked doors and lack of support arises from different priorities. Simply asking someone what their priorities are can help you to understand why there is little support or openness to new ideas. Choosing, creating, and/or acknowledging team or individual priorities is often a first step to good collaboration, progress, and development. 
  • What does the data say? Myths abound in schools--people think something works just because they've heard it works or observed success in that area once or twice. It's very important to look beyond subjective experiences or hearsay, and to look at the data to find out who is really succeeding and what kinds of formal and informal data proves that? 
  • Collaborative planning is essential to making good ideas come alive for the benefit of students, and this collaborative planning relies on good process, regular assessment and analysis, and continual revision to make the mark. 
As I think of all of these ideas, I am thinking about how we can teach our hard-to-reach students better. What can we do to help these students achieve more and better? Some ideas I want to use next year to meet this goal include the following:
  • Better collaborative services mapping at the start of the year
  • Better scaffolding of curriculum objectives
  • More hands-on project/problem based learning and writing/presentation process
  • More reflective, "low stakes" writing opportunities throughout the curriculum including math reflective journals/response, science lab report completion/response
  • Better analysis of regular assessments with the team to look at how we might re-think our efforts to gain greater growth and positive development
  • More fidelity to service schedules
  • Review curriculum map and improve our efforts in that area
I'm looking forward to tackling this goal with greater direction in the year ahead. We did a great job this year, and I want to do an even better job next year in this regard. Onward.