Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Principle 1: Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality

This is the follow up to the Fierce Conversations post.

I left the book club thinking how we could leverage Principle 1: Master the Courage to Interrogate Reality for school improvement. When we work with school improvement teams we see a nearly universal response. High school says if only the middle school had done its job, and the middle school says kids are not coming prepared. Other favorites include lack of motivation, students moving into the district, or it’s the parents.

Let’s Interrogate Reality:

When data is the foundation, we often see a different trend. High elementary scores, down slightly at middle school, then a sharp decrease at high school. NAEP data suggest the lower grades are beginning to close the achievement gap, while the gap is widening at the high school level.

So in the words of Fierce Conversations author, Susan Scott, “What are we pretending not to know?”

“What is our (administrators and teachers) contribution to the problem?”

When will we be ready to hear the answers?

2 comments:

kemeigh said...

GREAT QUESTIONS! Until we take a courageous and honest look at our high schools and what we are doing there.... nothing will change. What part do I, the adult in this system, play in the lower scores, low motivation, lack of engagement of our students?
I know many high school students - they are working extra jobs, active in their churches and other organizations, taking care of younger siblings, contributing financially to help their families... and yet in school they are viewed as unengaged, even lazy.... What are the contributing factors to the lower educational achievement of these students? Is it time to look at ourselves? Could we hold the answer? Or do we want to continue to blame the students, their parents, the teachers in the lower grades? Do we have the courage to interrogate our own belief systems????

kstarosta said...

I also see it as a skill deficit--not being able to evaluate ourselves. There are so many factors of our own performances or our own environment that we can control, yet we don't often look at those factors. In my experience with behavior, it is often blame the child or blame the parent. I would be even too idealistic for me to say that there aren't home or child factors that influence the student's behavior--but we have no control over those factors and we give up entirely too much power if we don't look at ourselves and what we can do to change.