Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fostering A Continuous Gap Between What We Know and What We Do

As we already know, a gap exists between what we know and what we do.  Successful educators work to narrow this gap between new ideas and implementation.  However, I believe the size of this gap does not necessarily indicate one’s success.  Some educators are terrific at executing what all they know how.   The problem is, their pedagogy is out-of-date, irrelevant, and this gap has been stagnant for many years.  On the other hand, there are educators who engage in twitter, who subscribe to RSS readers such as Google Reader and Bloglines, who create personalized online magazines through tools such as Zite and Flipboard, and who curate content through platforms such as and  These educators have an enormous amount of growing knowledge. 

As leaders, which educator do you desire for your building?  The answer is easy but fostering such a gap takes intentional purpose on the part of the leader.

Fostering Knowledge
  • Recognize what your teacher wants to learn, as well as, what they need to learn.  Then, spark their curiosity.
  • Assist teachers in developing a strong PLN by introducing content specific educators who are both like-minded as well as those with differing viewpoints.
  • Assist teachers in curating content by creating an RSS reader and/or personalized magazine.
  • Assist teachers in subscribing to publications such as Education Week, Edutopia, Teaching Channel, E-School News, etc…

Fostering Doing
  • Embed time for teachers to develop new knowledge and on the job learning opportunities.
  • Urge teachers to take the time to practice what they learn. Knowledge is power only when we use it.
  • Commend good mistakes when risks are taken and lessons are learned.
  • Invite regular reflection. Encouraging teachers to establish a personal learning blog that documents what they learn is one of the simplest but most rewarding and valuable approaches.

As leaders, it is important to grow and maintain our own gap between what we know and what we do.  Otherwise, it will be difficult to assist teachers and be the lead learner within your school.

This is a working document.  Please share other strategies to fostering this important gap to remaining relevant in the classroom.  

Cross-posted at Connected Principals