Category Archives: systems level thinking

One School’s Impossible, Is Another School’s Norm

“Our teachers aren’t asking for this.”

This is a sentiment that I have heard from administrators often when talking about initiatives/technology in school in why they may not have certain things in the classroom.  Whether this is YouTube opened up for student use, revamping professional learning, or even something as simple as having a projector in the classroom, not asking for something doesn’t mean that it is not needed.

The problem with this logic is that many teachers don’t know a different way because a) they never knew it was a possibility in the first place, or b) they have done fine without those things in the past.  

As leaders, we need to not only take care of those we serve currently, but look to the future as well.  Developing things like innovation teams, that explore the possibilities of what is possible, and become like a research and development team for the school, are crucial to success in a constantly changing world.  These should not be one-off initiatives, but organizational norms in schools which are to embody “learning organizations”.  If we are stuck in the same place we were years ago, we are not modelling at a system level what we expect from individuals.

 

Administrators need to always listen to educators, but they also have to put themselves in the forefront as well.  What seems impossible to one school, is already commonplace in another.  There is something wrong with this picture, and if we don’t actively seek and deploy ways to becoming innovative, we will perpetually be stuck in the past.