OnCUE

Author - Jon Corippo

Beyond Band Aids: How Do We Heal Education?

bandaids

Ed note: This blog was co-authored by David Culberhouse, Jon Corippo, and Cori Orlando.

bandaids

“Is that quick fix, that Band-Aid, what is needed for truly sustainable change? It’s time for a new conversation, time for a different plan of action…we need to look deeper than the surface wound.”- Orlando, Culberhouse, Corippo

Urgency. The time to create educational change is now, it isn’t an option. Our students, our world, and our future are changing, therefore our students’ education must change as well. When organizations feel the urgency to solve or heal a problem, it is easy to look for a quick fix. That is part of human nature, see a problem…fix the problem. Makes sense, right? But let us ask: “How is that working for you?” Is that quick fix; that band-aid, what is needed for truly sustainable change? It’s time for a new conversation, time for a different plan of action…we need to look deeper than the surface wound. We must look under the band-aid. We need to diagnose the origin of the holes to heal them at their core. So what is holding us back?

Gaping Holes: Disconnected systems: Many systems try to increase cognitive loads on individuals in the organization. But adding “one more thing” diminishes space for new learning and creating new knowledge that should be focused on better idea flows. Instead, we should identify things we can let go of – schools are a mile wide and an inch deep. What if we narrowed our scope and dug deeper? Like the quote that’s attributed to Einstein says: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” When is the last time we tried to make the process of education more simple?

Unhealing Holes: Initiative fatigue across organizations: When the focus is on implementing programs more than shifting mindsets, people become fatigued. Their mental bandwidth for change decreases with every new event. So let us increase leadership capacity to make a shift in our educational organizations. Let’s focus our change efforts on mindsets, mind shifts, future and around the corner thinking, internal and external awareness, greater emotional intelligence and empathy, greater understanding of improvement and transformational processes.

Band-Aid

“We can change the look to make it more attractive, but it still just covers the wound.” – Orlando, Culberhouse, Corippo

Rather than a short-term, new initiative every year (replacing with a fresh band-aid) let’s think more long range. The president of Honda was once asked how long their long-range plan was by American MBAs. He replied “250 years”. We need to think the same way. We must develop a real plan for raising healthy human beings not test scores. To do this, we need to shift our minds and actions to be student-centric so we can focus on the best ways to help all of our students become their best.

The wound that begets the band-aid: Lack of awareness: If there is not a deep understanding as to the “WHY” change and transformation are even necessary, it will be difficult to create and sustain a plan. It may create an unwillingness to look beyond what we’ve always done to better prepare students to be adaptable and agile to a changing world. It could blind us by not seeing our own “Napster” moment staring us in the face. Educators (all levels of educators, including administrators) should look at books like Dumbing Us Down and The End of Average and films like Most Likely To Succeed and Race To Nowhere and grapple with the idea that to some degree, we are culpable. We can not change unless we are willing to understand our own responsibility and power within the system.

Self-inflicted wounds: Facing the enemy within: We create our own internal divisions (between teachers, administrators, district office, parents, etc.) that inhibit collective transformation and impact. This keeps the system from having any type of momentum as it is constantly stepping on itself. Communication and transparency are key when creating change. Involve those who will be affected. Ask for and listen to ideas, regardless of where they come from. Listen beyond titles, rank, role, age; because amazing ideas can come from the most unforeseen places.

Change is never easy, large change can be painful. “Pain is mandatory, misery is optional”. At all levels, education takes a Herculean effort to be excellent. Education is COMPLEX, INTENSE and requires SACRIFICE. Being an educator means long, hard days. But by keeping our eyes on the prize – a healthy, creative and connected next generation- it is worth the cost. When we believe that and work together, the misery dissipates.

What is the antidote? We can start by ripping away the band-aid to allow holes to scab over. We need people and organizations who have a (disruptive) beta mindset. Those who have a willingness to engage in ongoing learning (should not be an event), as well as a willingness to disrupt mindsets that inhibit change. Those who see and share new possibilities that lead to new learnings and new behaviors. We have to be willing to ask hard questions, have tough conversations and be transparent and honest in doing so. We have to also be in tune and truly listen to what students want and need from their education – it is their future we are creating.


DavidDavid Culberhouse: Educator, Ideapreneurial, Exponential Mindset, Social Architect, CUE Rockstar Admin Faculty, TEDx, Facilitator for NISL, Proactively Designing the Future… @DCulberhouse

 

JonJon Corippo: CUE Interim Exec Dir. Creator: CUE Rock Star. CUE BOLD. Co-Founder Minarets HS, EdCamp Yosemite.  @jcorippo

 

CoriCori Orlando: TOSA at Co-mod & #VCHSChat   faculty, CUE BOLD Faculty @CoriOrlando1

Fall CUE Conference – We Will Be There!

Fall CUE Announcement

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Dear Fall CUE Attendees, Partners, Speakers, and Vendors,

Northern California has been devastated by the ongoing fires. We know that educators and students have been affected and are in need. Several CUE members have lost their homes entirely.

Some of you are probably wondering about the Fall CUE Conference in American Canyon on October 27-28, 2017. American Canyon is not under any evacuation orders at this time, and the city is NOT under imminent risk.

Therefore, we are moving ahead with the Fall CUE Conference at this time.

We have been monitoring the conditions and will keep everyone updated as developments emerge and new information becomes available. We have been speaking daily with Napa Valley Unified and Napa County Office of Education. (For up-to-date and accurate information, visit American Canyon’s News Alert site.)

We are also looking at opportunities for affiliates and others to help the affected teachers in Northern California. We are planning Friday evening events in the City of Napa to support the community and provide a sense of normalcy for our local educators. These details will be coming soon.

Our thoughts are with everyone, especially educators, in the affected areas. Our North Bay CUE community has been hit hard, and our Orange County CUE community has had some fires in their area as well. Our hearts go out to these two CUE communities and many others who have been impacted as well. Please continue to keep all the people, including the firefighters throughout California, in your thoughts as they continue to battle the fires.  We thank the Cal Fire crews and first responders who are working tirelessly to contain the fires.

I’d like to quote one of my favorite educators, Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

We are helpers here at CUE.

Thank you,

Jon Corippo

Interim Executive Director, CUE

Next Gen Professional Development pt 2- Upskilling

Upskilling

When I was about 14 years old, in the late 1970s, my parents opened a small ski shop. As part of the process, they allowed me to become a “certified technician” for the ski bindings. It was a real thing because one needed to be certified to be able to mount and adjust ski bindings for the customers – and I wanted to get that job. This was the coolest job in town for a young teenager.

I studied the materials. Earnestly. I looked at all the pictures and really tried to imagine installing bindings (our equipment hadn’t come in yet; we were ski-less). After about 3 weeks, we went to the Salomon installers test event. I was the youngest in the room, by far. When the scores got totaled, I had not passed. It stung because I really wanted to pass. I was crushed.

The next week, our skis and bindings came in. To make a long story much shorter, I got a chance to touch the equipment, to hear the click of the teeth popping into place, to turn the spring tensioners and feel the bindings tighten up. I had a mentor who showed me how the settings worked, as they related to the skier’s size, skill level, and weight.

Later that season I re-took the Salomon test. Result: 100%. The next year I took the test for Marker bindings. Result: 100%. The following year, I took the test for Look bindings, same result: 100%.

What was the change? I had upskilled myself. Once I had seen the metaphor of the work to be done and had seen the systems in action, I could easily code switch to new brands with a high rate of success.

Have you ever learned something by failing for a bit and then mastering the concept by simply doing it?

Flash forward twenty plus years and I was thinking very much about my skiing origin-story as I designed my first-ever professional development for a group of educators. My goal for them was to gain skills that would not require them memorizing or having binders. I’d serve as their expert leader in a series of small practice events within a single session. The practice items needed to be fun by design and allow the educators to add their own vision and options to their short video projects.

Back in the early 2000s, we didn’t have an option for social media – so I gave everyone my email. 

Passion.

Options.

Vision.

Expert Leader.

Fun.

Social Media Support

Those basic elements have been present in all the professional development I’ve lead ever since. Ironically, I had to endure several more years of binder-based PD in my districts where the planned goal was to get us to listen most of the time as trainers shared basic how-to presentations off of overhead projectors or early model, dim video projectors. (Close the curtains, please.)

Here are some of my favorite techniques for leading better professional development.

  1. Upskilling: My preference is to START PD without explaining the concept of the session at all – but by having my guests do an activity. It can be something small – like a scavenger hunt or any little thing that involves doing the work in at least a small way. This gives them confidence in the subject. When people have confidence, their ability to grow is greatly enhanced. Having educators make and share a short example of their learning is another key goal. Once people have done something, their mind is more likely to engage in permutations. People in PD want skills, not just ideas.
  2. Passion and options: Give folks a chance to select their sessions. It allows them to gravitate to their interests. While this seems basic – it’s a powerful mindset for educators to be able to select their own work for the day. Also – be aware of grade ranges. K-12 ranged sessions are nearly impossible to design in such a way that folks in the edges of the grade spectrums will be satisfied. Let grade ranges work in their natural groupings.
  3. Vision: share the why early and often – what if we could make our work more effective AND less work? Educators are not afraid to work hard. But sometimes we work on systems that are antiquated. To get people to let go of their current reality and try for a new one – they need a vision. Good PD inspires; it’s not just a task list or cheat sheet.
  4. Expert Leader: While the leader needs good technical skills, it’s important that the person sharing the PD has many anecdotal examples when there is doubt in the audience. Classroom leaders deal with incredibly complex local situations in terms of parent expectations, admin expectations and student skills – before they even get into the edtech aspects. When educators ask expert leaders about their concerns with a new lesson idea, the expert leader needs to be able to assuage those concerns gracefully and with confidence.
  5. Fun: When I teach students a new skill (technological or pedagogical) I always start with something fun that has a low cognitive load. This allows them to learn the new skills more easily – not worrying about the academics as much. An example of this is my take on The Worst Preso Ever lesson. Students watch a short video by a stand-up comedian who details the dozen or so worst things you can do on a presentation slide. Then I have the kids repeat the errors using their own BAD slides. This is usually done the first day of school, a time when a lot of students are shy. Students in The Worst Preso Ever classroom are laughing and carrying on enjoying really bad presentations. We can give adult learners these kinds of options, and the payoff is huge.
  6. Social Media Support: One of the best things a person leading professional development can do is give their email and social media handles out very overtly. Sometimes a PD leader can accidentally appear to be “out of range” from an audience. If the goal of PD is to truly change practice, building connections and collaboration are critical elements. Here’s why: in a group of a 100 people, only 10-15% of them like new ideas, and around 50-60% of the group will actively reject new ideas.(1) That means for this new idea to take root, the small group of 10-15% needs to be supported and emboldened in order to ensure they will try what they’ve learned. Even if they never contact that leader, they know they can reach out. The success of that early group will determine whether or not the new idea takes hold. Connecting on Twitter, Facebook or Voxer accelerates that process by going public and adding more educators to the mix.

When schools and districts schedule PD for educators, it’s a large investment for their professional team. The amount of time that educators get in these kinds of events is limited, often only one to three days per year. Consider the “ingredients” above to maximize your educational PD investment.
In my final post in this series, I’ll be sharing my favorite examples of effective professional development from CUE and others.

(1) The Secret to Accelerating Diffusion of Innovation: The 16% Rule Explained. (2010). INNOVATE OR DIE. Retrieved 14 September 2017, from https://innovateordie.com.au/2010/05/10/the-secret-to-accelerating-diffusion-of-innovation-the-16-rule-explained/ 


Jon Corippo is the Interim Executive Director for CUE, leading CUE’s professional learning throughout California and Nevada. Jon keynotes, leads and designs Professional Learning experiences all over the country. Jon’s core PL skills are focused on 1:1 deployment, Common Core, Project Based Learning, social media skills and Lesson Design. Jon is the creator of the CUE Rock Star Camp Series, The CUE Rock Star Admin Camp Series and planner for the CUE Super Symposium and JET Review ProgramUnder Jon’s Leadership, and with his CUE Professional Learning Team, CUE PL has trained over 32,000 teachers between 2015-2017.

Professional Development: The Next Generation pt 1

professional development

“Professional Development” has a negative connotation for many teachers. In other professions, professionals are hungry for training on the latest techniques, mindset and tactical approaches. NASCAR Pit Crews get training. If they fail to get a tire changed in seconds, it’s a major public event.

If you are a professional marketer, you attend events like InBound 2017 and willingly pay a lot of money to stay in front of the pack, because results are the lifeblood of marketers.

If you are in the military, events like MILCOM have Continuing Ed Credits. Learning never stops.Because lives are on the line.

To become an NFL-ready Official, you attend the NFL Officiating Development Program, after completing the Football Officiating Academy. (see the pyramid) Only the best trained and most passionate get to step on the field.

The NFL Officiating Pyramid

You can guess the point of sharing these non-educational examples. In one’s chosen trade (or just as importantly, one’s avocation)  state-of-the-art skills matter. State-of-the-art mindsets matter. Connections with industry professionals matter.

So, why the different perception of professional development  in education? One example is that I always think of is this one minute YouTube clip of Chicago Public schools educators being forced to repeat lock step instructions in a way that is completely antithetical to what education should be like. I cannot imagine being subjected to “development” like this for 10 minutes, much less a six hour time period. It’s mind-numbing and an insult to professionals, who should be working on honing the art and science of education.

A failed Saturday “professional development”.

I’ve been in professional events that consisted of a “trainer” reading slides and clicking on boxes in SIS, accounting and assessment tools more times than I’d like to count. In the end, most of us leave these events with a very small set of skills and a desire for a Vente latte to defog our brains. Think I’m kidding? How about sitting in a one hour session about snakebite and animals on campus with 100+ teachers? Did that have to be 100 people hours face to face? Or could there be a better way?

In 2006, I was accepted to help out in a week long PD Camp by what I consider to be an accident. I called to see if an event I had enjoyed was going to repeat the following Summer. They offered me a chance to lead. I immediately said yes – and I have a very clear memory of my first thoughts when I hung up: I’m going to have my folks MAKING things, just like my students in class. We are going to have choices, skill levels and variety. My goal was to share mindset and skills, not just have a binder to take notes in.

As a chimera of sorts, I’ve spent the next eleven years as part classroom teacher, part administrator and part worldwide PD leader. I’ve been lucky to deliver dozens and dozens of PD days over the last 11 years and I’ve been able to see what really works, in terms of helping educators to truly improve their craft.

In my short time at CUE, I’ve been able to assist in leading PD events for over 30,000 educators (almost a 750% increase). It’s not always perfect, no PD can be, but we’ve gotten very high evaluation ratings (typically in the low 90% range) and our CUE Launch events that are very rigorously tracked by Google have some of the highest worldwide pass rates for the three-hour long Google Educator Level 1 Exam. We’ve deployed over 225 educators (many of them for multiple events) in the last year to go and lead PD for educators, by educators. We’ve also had many calls for us to return and engage in long-term development – and that’s the very best result possible.

What is the recipe for this kind of impact in educational professional development? It is actually relatively simple: There must be a focus on upskilling the attendees in a context that makes the learning immediately applicable. There must be fun. Any work lacking fun becomes an #Edugulag very quickly. The training must include passion and vision. Attendees need to be able to choose options they can relate to. The trainer must be an expert in the real world applications and processes they lead, and ideally they from a similar grade range or subject area. We ask our Lead Learners to be very forward about connecting with the attendees via social media – specifically for the purpose of establishing an on-going connection. Personally, I offer free lifetime tech support – and I’m quite serious about that offer.

In my next post, I’ll be sharing more details and anecdotes about how these “ingredients” come together to accomplish what is a nearly universal desire in education: How to be as educationally effective as possible.


Photo by Danny Silva – www.iteachag.org

Jon Corippo is the Interim Executive Director for CUE, leading CUE’s professional learning throughout California and Nevada. Jon keynotes, leads and designs Professional Learning experiences all over the country. Jon’s core PL skills are focused on 1:1 deployment, Common Core, Project Based Learning, social media skills and Lesson Design. Jon is the creator of the CUE Rock Star Camp Series, The CUE Rock Star Admin Camp Series and planner for the CUE Super Symposium and JET Review Program.

 Under Jon’s Leadership, and with his CUE Professional Learning Team, CUE PL has trained over 32,000 teachers in 2015-2017.