Thursday, May 8, 2014

To Improve Teaching, Change the Culture

Famed business thinker Peter Drucker reportedly stated  “Culture eats strategy for lunch.” In other words, to effect change, changing the culture of an institution is more significant a factor than adopting a new strategy. Of course, changing culture and implementing new techniques and programs interact, but there’s a lot of truth in Drucker’s observation.

How do we go about changing the culture of our institutions? At “Learning Forward,” Stephanie Hirsh offers recommendations for K-12 schools. They apply to us as well. Here they are:

  • Everyone shares      collective responsibility for the success of all students served by the      school. That commitment to the success of the members of the school      extends to its educators, particularly the newest teachers.
  • Leaders are models and      advocates for learning. They participate as learners and they make clear      that learning with others is not an optional activity.
  • Resources for      professional learning are available, including time, coaches, and dollars.      The protection of these resources is non negotiable during budget-setting      time and in fiscal crises.
  • Data and its skillful      use drive improvement and decision making at every level. Data are used to      link professional learning to improvements in educator practices and student      results.
  • Professional learning is      grounded in evidence; aligned to individual, team, and system goals;      driven by protocols, and personalized when necessary.
  • Educators have access to      classroom-based support virtually and face to face.
  • Outcomes drive learning;      priorities are narrowly set; and benchmarks and leading indicators guide      improvements through the ongoing cycle of continuous improvement. There is      accountability for implementation and the benchmarks help everyone      involved monitor progress.

You can read more here. I think changing culture is often very difficult. In trying to bring about change, recognize that not all your colleagues will climb onboard.


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