Problem Solved

After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully.  After five years, look at it with suspicion.  And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.

The above is from Alfred E. Perlman, a railroad visionary in the 20th Century.  Much as we take inflation rates into consideration when comparing dollar amounts from past eras, I think we should do the same with time figures.  When Perlman made this quote in 1958 in the midst of turning around the New York Railroad, time and change moved at a much different rate.  Let’s look at this quote and remove the time factors that Perlman used.

How often do we need to review what we do as educators when it comes to our classroom or leadership practices?

Image Credit: “RETHINK” from depone’s photostream
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4 thoughts on “Problem Solved

  1. I think we need to review it on a yearly basis. As the data comes in, and it becomes apparent that what we tried this year didn’t work, we should be planning appropriately for the following year, Aren’t there a bunch of old sayings about how you get the same thing if you always do the same thing?

    This goes for success also. When you see dramatic improvement after a change, you can lock that in for the following year. But you still need to keep your eyes open.

    I may always have a class of 10 year old, but who they are, what they know, and where they come from, will always be different.

    1. Steve,

      Right on. I tend to blow things up rather quickly when they don’t work, and sometimes throw away minor successes that were lost amid the colossal failure. It’s important to track both sides of an experiment.

  2. We need to review it whenever we are unable to reach all our learners. Good enough is never enough if we only reach 90% of our students. What is the obstacle for that struggling student and how can we change our methods instead of blaming for the student for not getting it?
    And when we Rethink Everything, we must ensure we have sound educational rationale for everything we rethink. TTWWADI (That’s the way we’ve always done it)doesn’t cut it anymore.
    Thanks for your visionary thinking!

    1. Karen,

      Thank you for the comment and for the push for sound educational rationale. The deeper I get into addressing student needs, it seems that there are as many solutions as there are problems. That statement sounds obvious, but think about it: in the past we have taken a “one-solution fits all” model when it comes to reaching students, but as I find out, there are myriad problems, and the solution to each has to be unique.

      I also wanted to thank you for continuing to push me towards UDL. I was doing some research at various UDL sites yesterday before we head into our spring curriculum planning, and I realized that using that framework in the lesson design stage of our work will be essential.

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