Monday, December 20, 2010

The Aspirations - Tolerance Gap!

Thinking about the Aspirations-Tolerance Gap this week. Why is it that we aspire (have a vision and hope for) to a greater and better student and adult learning experience and yet, tolerate far less - as a point of action by the adults in our schools?

A few years ago a colleague challenged me to"Mind the Gap" using the symbol for the London tube as a reminder that there is a gap between our words of vision and our actual action we take on the vision... school teachers and leaders must "mind that gap" as we go on and off the lesson plan train every day.

For example, the 20 year pursuit and compelling research on "Student Engaged Learning" has been an aspiration of effective teaching and learning...yet, in thousands of school classrooms today, many students fail to experience an engaging and dynamic learning environment. How is that possible? And the gap is wider in some places than others.

More thoughts on the leaders' responsibility to Mind the Gap:

In The Knowing-Doing Gap, Pfeffer and Sutton (2000) explored what they regard as one of the great mysteries of organizational management—the disconnect between what we know and what we do.

Part of understanding your leadership role in causing the “knowing-doing gap” of the colleagues you influence is to examine the old paradigm of school wide professional development. In this model school administrators and leaders dedicated time, money, and resources for professional development in which they fell victim to a parallel gap—the disconnect between the desired results of the professional development, and ultimately what leaders and colleagues were willing to tolerate—based on the action or inaction toward the actual implementation level. Think of this as your “Aspirations-Tolerance” gap as a professional learning community participant. Aspiration is defined as “a strong desire to achieve something high or great” (2010, Thus, you “desire or aspire ” for all colleagues to implement research-affirmed practices resulting from their professional development, but do you “tolerate”—perhaps unintentionally—far less?

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