Sunday, May 12, 2024

The Never-ending Upgrade: Why Constant Growth is the Key to Success

While I enjoy keynoting and facilitating workshops, it is through a coaching lens that I get to see how teachers and administrators are implementing innovative learning strategies with fidelity. Through their actions, I can collect evidence to show efficacy while curating exemplars I can share in my presentations. No matter where I go, I get the same message from educators on their desire for practical strategies. There is no better example than those implemented in classrooms, schools, and districts. 

“Eric, we know the why. To move our practice, we want to see how it can be done and what it could look like.”

The quote above is something I hear over and over again as I support school systems across the world. It is important to educators because it highlights the importance of moving from theory to practice. While understanding the reasons for change (the why) is important, it is equally important to see how this change can be implemented (how) and what the results might look like (what it could look like), something I elaborate on in Disruptive Thinking in Our Classrooms. Here’s why:

  • Educators need practical guidance: Ideas and strategies are often handed down from above, with little guidance on how to implement them in the classroom. Educators need to be shown how to put these into practice.
  • Sharing effective practices: By sharing examples of what has been implemented successfully, educators can learn from each other and improve their own practice.
  • Building a vision for change: Seeing what innovation could look like can help educators stay motivated and committed to making changes.

Thus, when I am in certain places, I always check in on educators who push the envelope and crave feedback so they can grow. A few weeks back, I was in Stryker Local Schools (OH), where I have been supporting the district this past year. One classroom I always try to visit is that of Larry Freshour, an elementary technology teacher. For starters, he is always craving feedback. I can’t remember a time this past school year when we had a conversation, and he didn’t mention how he was implementing an idea or strategy that he learned during one of the professional development days I facilitated. The other reason is that he thoroughly engages learners using a rotational model, immersing students in thought-provoking tasks.

During a recent visit, he had just finished up with a hook on circuits using a short video from Flocabulary.  When I entered, the class was already completing lightsaber cards in honor of May the 4th, which Star Wars fans are undoubtedly aware of and have this date marked on their calendars. Research has shown how vital relevance is to learning and Larry makes great efforts to impart authentic contexts and application during each lesson. Students were seen throughout the room creating working circuits to ignite the lightsaber. Self-regulation, pacing, and intrinsic motivation were on full display. 

Constant growth is the key to success because our world is always changing. By continuously learning new skills, adapting to new situations, and pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zones, we stay relevant, overcome challenges, and unlock our full potential as educators. This growth mindset fuels progress, keeps us engaged, and allows us to reach new heights consistently, just like Larry.  

No comments:

Post a Comment