What is YOUR biggest problem?
The answer is disengagement.
How do I know that?
How can an Educational Leadership Consultant presume to tell you that without knowing your staffing challenges, your behavioral issues, your demographics, your pedagogical committments, your funding woes, ets., etc.?
I know that disengagement is your biggest problem for several reasons.
First, your school has people in it.
Aren't your students and staff human?
If they are not human then I can't help you (more accurately I probably could, but I'm not interested).
I have some experience with animals (pack llamas and rats) but a lot more with humans (over two decades) and the humans hold far more fascination for me.
As a psychologist who specializes in motivation in educational contexts, I know that if you have humans in your school then my expertise is relevant.
Next, all your other issues will be easier if more people are engaged in solving them.
There isn't a single issue that you can tackle that would have bigger effect on your ability to solve other problems than if you could get more of your student, staff, and all other stakeholders to be more engaged.
It is their disengagement that is, ultimately, causing you (and them) grief.
If they were to become more engaged then everyone gets better at handling challenges.
If you are interested in empowering your students, staff, and all other stakeholders to solve problems then you should be interested in learning about what the science of psychology has discovered about the secrets of engagement.
So, I know that your biggest problem is disengagement (even though you may not have realized that it was until now) because I know that
- schools are populated by humans
- humans are fully capable of solving their own problems
- schools are historically very good at causing people to disengage in both subtle and not so subtle ways (even if they have a sterling reputation for "achievement" or other kinds of excellence)
And I do not need to know all the gruesome details of your exact situation (yet) because both the problem and the solutions to it are psychological, not pedagogical, demographic, behavioral, etc.
Educational Leadership Consulting
I can also assure you that our approach to Educational Leadership Consulting will help you solve a variety of problems simultaneously because once the psychology is properly supported then the people with problems get very interested in taking practical steps to solving them.
In the later stages of Educational Leadership Consulting we will take more of an interest in the larger issues beyond your school that limit your opportunities, but that is only after we've proven that we can make effective change within the school.
The over-all Educational Leadership Consulting framework for change is what I call a Fauxchievement Prevention Program.
Fauxchievement is when you go through the motions without mastering the materials.
The strategic focus of my work is fauxchievement because I believe it is a keystone.
A keystone is the middle stone in an arch that makes the whole structure stable.
When you are constructing an arch it is unstable until you put the keystone in.
If you remove the keystone from an arch then the whole thing collapses.
In this case, if you can solve the problem of fauxchievement then all the other problems that prevent you and your staff from educating your students will fall away.
Other problems may not, but educating is so central that it must be considered the most important.
But more importantly, when you build a school system that prevents fauxchievement from being a persistent pattern then you are inserting the key component of an inherently stable and reliable foundational structure for educating students.
If you and your staff can get the educating to happen then all the other problems that occur beyond the educating will become a lot more manageable.
How Bad Is Fauxchievement?
When students fail to attain mastery in spite of “achieving” in school, then they are fauxchieving.
Getting into college but being unable to finish is a consequence of fauxchievement.
That particular consequence got a lot of attention when KIPP revealed the low rate of college graduation their graduates achieved in their first College Completion Report.
Getting into but not through college is a pernicious problem for many schools.
Howard Gardner in his 2004 book The Unschooled Mind pointed out how pervasive fauxchievement is by drawing attention to various studies that show a majority of people with advanced degrees in every subject fail to apply the most basic concepts in their fields when the problems are presented to them in ways that have more resemblance to real life and are different from the way they were regularly tested in school.
To put it another way, most masters degrees do not indicate mastery, they indicate fauxchievement.
Two separate video series called A Private Universe (1987) and Minds of Our Own (1997) vividly demonstrated the effect and were an attempt to help teachers of math and scienceto overcome it (without my term for it). Those series were produced by a powerful consortium made up of Annenberg Media, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and the National Science Foundation.
Given the current obscurity of these videos I presume they had very limited success that did not justify further investments.
It Seems Normal, Natural, and Inevitable
Most people are not aware that fauxchievement is a major problem in schooling, although most people are well aware that many students at all levels merely go through the motions and learn less as a result.
The fact is, they do not know what to call it (the term came from video gaming) and they assume that it is a normal, natural, and inevitable way of living through the demands that schools typically make on students' time and energy.
Take the initiative and contact me about Educational Leadership Consulting now to discuss your situation and how a Fauchievement Prevention Program can help your school educate childen better.