I don’t have many answers as it concerns transforming public high school here in the US. Not for lack of trying, certainly. Regardless, what works for me and my teaching, and for my students and their learning, may not work for you and yours anyway.
But I can say one thing with a fair amount of certainty. Something that I think applies somewhat universally.
As we seek to transform this long-standing, bureaucratic, change-resistant institution, if we don’t have a crystal clear vision of where we’re headed, the movement stalls. Maybe worse.
And I think ‘movement’ is the right word for what we’re trying to do. Because a movement has purpose. It has urgency. It has buy-in. And all of that fuels the energy and enthusiasm of the people driving the movement.
Without that clarity, it’s very difficult to effectively articulate the “Why?” behind it all, and without that, the culture won’t shift quickly enough to develop traction.
A moment of reflection, then…
If I had it to do all over – if it were in my power to wind the clock back 3 years, and my principal happened to ask my opinion (and was willing to hear it) – I’d suggest we start with the end in mind. Simple, but easy enough to forget. Or ignore.
If, in our excitement to get started, we fail to clarify where we’re going, we’re likely to head off in the wrong direction. Worse, those we’ve asked to come along for the ride may decide they’re no longer interested in the journey.