Monday, January 24, 2011

More Root Cause Stories

There was such a great response to the Dwindling Owl Population in India root cause story that I decided to share a few more.

We were initially inspired by Paul Preuss’ book, School Leaders Guide to Root Cause Analysis. He had some sample root cause stories within his book. We kicked off our event with the Boat Accident example. We have participants read the story and then brainstorm root cause. What’s interesting is that folks almost always blame the family – sound familiar? However, if we stop our problem-solving with the family, nothing changes. If we start to see the organization, in this case the coast guard as culpable, is there a chance victims from a future boating accident will be saved?

The point is once we as educators take responsibility for student learning outcomes and focus solutions on items within our circle of influence, we can greatly impact results.

Inspired by the Preuss’ book, we created a few of our own:

Roseto – story centers on the importance of relationships (thanks to Sue Kinney)

Gotham City – RtII and large district reform

Korean Airlines – importance of communication and common language

Thomas Jefferson Memorial – Five Whys (recommended by Don Burkins)

Click here to view our root cause resources. Scroll down to see the examples. Please share your own resources and ideas!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Social Dimension


In my last post, I shared an article by Ed Week that highlighted the nonacademic skills needed for college and career success. The article brought me back to the framework for Reading Apprenticeship, an approach to adolescent literacy. The framework is posted to the right.

When I was first introduced to the Reading Apprenticeship framework my initial thought was the social and personal dimensions were just like cotton candy…. looks good, tastes good, but not much substance.

I have come to realize how very wrong I was. In fact, the personal and social dimensions are the very strength of the model.

Look to the framework and ask yourself … Where do secondary teachers live?

Where do students live?

Most educators would say secondary teachers are focused on knowledge-building, while most say students value the social dimension over the others.

It just is not realistic to think we will inspire deep content knowledge without valuing individual students and their need for social interaction. Conversely if we leverage student needs, we can create stimulating and challenging classrooms which honor the learning as well as the learner.

The framework showcases how ideas such as perseverance, teamwork, & dependability – key skills that are indicators of college and career success, are emphasized in conjunction with content knowledge.