A Reader Writes… (Innovation)

In response to the post, “People are Listening,” a reader writes:

“Your second point, ‘The needs of our academically fragile students fuel the drive to innovate.’

This point hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been a Brown guy for a while now. I have known SC personally, even longer. A simple truth is that the mother of all innovation is necessity; need is what truly drives invention. Knowing that; it has to follow that the NEEDS of education have to drive the innovation (invention) and we certainly know where the needs are.

Over the last 6 months, I have had conversations with two state senator staffers. The more we write and speak out, the better chance we have of making change. We are surrounded on all sides by long standing traditions and beliefs that are actually bad for kids. Our task is formidable, but failure will be disastrous for generations, and therefore, is unacceptable.

Examine your practices, and the practices of your school, and then determine if they truly meet the needs of your academically fragile kids. Or, are you and your staff simply following the traditions and practices that promote the needs of adults.”

SC Response
Obviously, I agree with the writer (as he mentions, we have worked together for a number of years). But, I think that it is important to point out that he is touching on the fact that there is a “Knowing-Doing” gap. A huge step in identifying and creating the need to innovate is to bridge the “Knowing-Doing” gap. It is one thing to know what we should do (I think that level of understanding is evident in about 50% of the educators in the field). It is quite another thing to commit to doing it. I hate to sound cynical, but I think that those who commit to aggressively bridging the gap represent less that 5% of active educators. A view has been confirmed in conversations with some of the “who’s who,” in education research and theory.

Here’s the rub, if you are not aggressively trying to reconcile daily practice and best practice, then you don’t know what you don’t know. And it’s the need to know what you don’t know, that positions you to create an innovation at the right time and in the right place.

Finally, the 5% statement seems insulting, but it’s not meant to be. It’s just the recognition that it’s easier to go along than to stand up and fight. A fight that many of you, the Lead Your School readers, are fighting every single day. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog. Because I am on your campuses, I see what you are trying to do. I see a cadre of loosely dispersed, motivated change agents. You see yourself stuck on an island with the masses entrenched and unwilling to change. It is my privilege to remind you that you are not alone, and though they may not thank you, your students and staff are better off because of you.

Think. Work. Achieve.

Your Turn…

Recommended Book
A Reader Writes… (Nesting, Part 2)

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