Friday, January 22, 2016

6 Questions to Break the "Same-Old Same-Old" Cycle

An old high school buddy of mine slapped me in the face the other morning with his Instagram post below. 

The Same-Old Same-Old Cycle

As this image cycled through my mind, this question emerged.

Are my thoughts generating the same old results?

Think about it. The same old thinking leads to the same old results, but if we're not careful, the same old results will lead back to the same old thinking.  The "same-old same-old" is a vicious cycle that solidifies the status quo and "the way we've always done it around here", the cycle is solidified by our thoughts more so than our actions.  After all our actions are dictated by our thoughts.

We owe it to our kids to break this cycle because the stakes are too high, and the consequences are so great. In order to find new solutions to the same old problems that we have been experiencing all year, we must ask ourselves this question. Is the problem really our result or is it our thinking?  If we truly believe in helping kids grow, and if we want to accomplish this goal of every kid increasing their performance by 10 points from last year, let's look inward before we look outward.  

6 Questions to Break the Same-Old Same-Old Cycle

Below are a few questions that can help you evaluate your thinking and how you respond when you encounter results that continue to resurface.

Do you think about failure in terms of failure to grow and improve instead of the mindset of failure to pass?

Does your thinking about your response to a student’s failure to grow result in a meaningful change in the way you teach those kids who are regressing?

When a student fails to grow, do you initially reflect on your instruction and the ways it helped or didn’t help the student grow?

With respect to apathetic or disruptive students, do you think first about ways that you can change your approach to better meet the student’s deficits and how you can better connect with them?

With respect to academic deficits, do you reflect on how you teach concepts and whether or not they are truly meeting kids where they currently are in their ability?

When you don’t know what to do, do you look to your colleagues for guidance, suggestions and strategies to better meet the needs of your regressing students?

Do you have more checks in the yes column or no column?  

So how did you do?  If you have more no's, you may be stuck in the same old thinking.  If you have more checks in the yes column, you are headed in the right direction.  The same old results are precipitated by the same old thinking.  If we truly want our students to grow, we must recommit to our own growth and development first.  That will only happen when we honestly reflect on our own abilities and effectiveness and the thinking that reinforces them  When that happens, we will be more able to create new actions, skills and mindsets which will in turn lead to new and better results.

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