"yes, I agree with you, great post" type of comment (which seems to be my standard). But there was no open-ended question in my comment. Then I jumped into my google reader and read this post, which was another post about the same post I had just read. Maybe it's the universe telling me it's time to confront this issue of lame excuses which has driven me crazy at work forever.
Obviously, it is not something unique to my particular school or even to the field of education.
So, I left my open-ended question on Britt's blog.
I know that it is part of human nature to resist change. I, myself, have a hard time with change. And yet, there is no stopping it. Why do you think so many teachers are so averse to innovation and change?
Now I want to try to answer my own question. It's a tough one. Mitch Ditkoff (from the first mentioned blog post) gives this technique for dealing:
So, there is a potential answer to the question...but still, I am interested in the very open-ended question, "WHY?"
1. Make a list of your three most bothersome excuses.
2. Turn each excuse into a powerful question, starting with the words "How can I?" or "How can we?" (For example, if your excuse is "That's R&D's job," you might ask "How can I make innovation my job?" or "How can I help my team take more responsibility for innovating?"
3. Brainstorm each question -- alone and with your team.
Creature of Habit
I guess I will look to myself first. It is kind of a silly example, but this firefox-safari thing comes to mind. I am in the habit of using safari as my browser. I have all my bookmarks set up just the way I like them. But, more and more, I am finding that things don't work as well in safari, and I need to switch over to firefox. It's not just cocomment, it's moodle, edline, a number of tools work best in firefox. And yet, creature of habit that I am, I open safari first, every time. So yesterday, I decided to remove safari from my dock (dock=the thing we use in mac osx to easily access applications). Do you know that I couldn't stand not having safari in my dock? I had to put it back!
We know all the sayings "creature of habit," "old habits die hard," etc. There is a lot to be learned from examining our habits and teaching ourselves to adopt new habits to help us make the kinds of changes we wish to make. It brings to mind a favorite quote that is on the top of my blog and on my wall in the computer lab at work.
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
I see this at the core of the lame excuses: old habits and some laziness. The more you do it, the easier it is to learn, unlearn, relearn. It can almost become a habit in itself, and I think it is part of what using technology is doing for us as human beings.
So, why are teachers so stuck? Perhaps it is unfair for me to pick on teachers. I only know teachers. I have never really worked in any other type of organization. But, that said, it is sort of widely known that schools seem stuck in the industrial age. Why is that?
Here is what comes to mind: Fear. Lack of time. Lack of interest. Lack of passion for learning, improving their practice, trying new things (this is the one that bothers me most). Habit.
I have had an idea for professional development for next year that I hope will address a few of these concerns. I will blog about it as I go forward with it. The only thing that can not be addressed even with the best professional development is a lack of passion for being a learner. I wish people like that would go into some other profession.