Building Better Schools Is All About Understanding Context

earl grey tea

Replicating Earl Grey Tea

We all want our schools to be successful.  So, when we see something working really well at one school there’s a tendency to want to replicate it somewhere else.  But how do we do that?  Is there a guaranteed way to ensure success?

Permit me to digress for just a moment into the world of science fiction …

Star Wars is the standard by which all other movies are measured.  Agreed.  However, I HAVE been known to watch the occasional Star Trek TV episode.  How cool was their food replicator on their starships?  You could produce any food or drink item just by asking the replicator computer to make it.  Poof!  Instant ice cream sundae, chocolate cake or Earl Grey tea.

  • No more cooking.
  • No more wasted time cleaning.
  • Instant replication of something you really like.

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Why Did the Duck Cross the Road? A Story of Readiness

Sort of like “Why did the chicken cross the road”?  Maybe the better question should be “UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES did the duck cross the road”?

I think you’ll enjoy this 27 second video — the German voice over isn’t relevant — just watch the ducks and the traffic signal:

 

I’ve watched it a few times trying to figure out what the actual stimulus was for the lead duck — it certainly appears like he recognizes the light change.  Regardless, once the right conditions were in place — in other words, a safe environment to take the risk of crossing the road — every duck took the leap of faith and walked.

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Having Difficult Conversations

Being an administrator in the public education system has meant that I’ve had a few conversations with people where the content was difficult for me to share and, in most cases, even more difficult for the other person to hear.

Some examples …

  • PT conversationMeeting with a student who has not achieved to their potential;
  • Conversing with parents about their child’s struggles;
  • Debriefing with a staff member who was not successful in an interview;
  • Sharing the tragic news of a student or staff member who has died.  Unfortunately, I’ve had to do this a few times in my career.

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