With today’s post I’m piggy-backing on the presentation LYS Coach (and newest member of the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD Hall of Fame), Sherilyn Cotton, made at the recent LYS / TASSP Leadership Academy – Rigor Without Mortis.
Schools and teachers are constantly sorting students into different and distinct groups. Sometimes, this is on purpose, often it is unintentional. Sometimes the groupings are beneficial to students and sometimes the groupings diminish student outcomes in ways that we neither intended nor imagined.
Without realizing it, we sort students into groups of leaders and followers. We do this with the instructional strategies that we choose (or actually choose not) to use every day.
The key cognitive functions required of every leader are the abilities to summarize and to compare/contrast. On a regular basis a leader must take dense and/or complex information and summarize it in a way the is accessible, usable and actionable by the people she leads. Almost daily, a leader must rely on her skill of being able to quickly and effectively compare and contrast. Is Option 1 better than Option 2? Is this equipment better than that equipment? Is this employee worth investing in or should we start with a new employee? Etc., etc.
If you cannot do these two things (summarize / compare & contrast) you are not leadership material. You are a follower.
As a teacher, no matter who or what I teach, I can choose to regularly use the two most powerful instructional strategies: Written Summarization; and the Written Identification of Similarities and Differences.
If I choose to use these strategies my students will have more success with my content than if I choose not to. If I choose to use these strategies, I provide my students with the opportunity to build and practice the two critical skills that will prepare them to be leaders.
Or, I choose not to use the strategies and I make followers, class after class
And you thought you were just teaching (enter your subject here). What you do is bigger than that.
Think. Work. Achieve.
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