Continuous Improvement Introduction
Teachers seem to be confronted with the latest and greatest new idea each school year. We are expected to know so much with little training (at times). So, this is an opportunity to share my knowledge about the research I’ve done (25 years, not continuously…) about Dr. W. Edward Deming’s theory of Continuous Improvement.
Although I still struggle to fit all the pieces in, I am at a point now, where I am using some of the principles in my classroom on a regular basis.
How did I start my research on Dr. Deming?
In the early 1990s, my brother-in-law was a VP for a thriving international company. He told me the story about a man who brought his ideas to US companies, only to be turned down, so he went elsewhere. The man went to another country, they welcomed his ideas and turned their electronics output around. Their products went on the be the best in the world at the time. Then, Deming was accepted back in the US, this time in the automobile industry. His theory of Continuous Improvement matched the business world. I was curious, and set out to learn more about Deming’s 14 points. But I didn’t know how could I apply this to my classroom. Then, one day, I found a book titled Improving Student Learning by Dr. Lee Jenkins, and I found my answer.
Jenkins, Burgard, Coady Make Sense
Dr. Jenkins book provided application of the 14 points to Math, Science, Literacy, Listening, Reading and Writing in a primary/elementary classroom. I began to see the connection: the aim at a realistic goal, collecting the data, reflecting on the output, adjusting the goal, then starting again. The next two books I found made the theory and the connection to education more clear. Continuous Improvement in the Science Classroom Grades 6-8 by Jeffrey Burgard and Continuous Improvement in the English Classroom by Janelle Coady are books I re-read every year. Little by little, I make progress in understanding the PDSA (plan, do, study, act) cycle that follows Dr. Deming’s 14 points.
First, The Aim
I rewrote my aim this year:
Using a positive attitude, Students will enthusiastically observe our world and raise appropriate questions about people, situation, events, or cultures. Students will inspire others when they communicate their new knowledge through reading, listening, writing, speaking with their teammates. Students will become confident, independent thinkers who strive to make our world a better place.
How does Deming’s Theory Connect to Writing?
As a new author, I will continue to ask questions, study the craft of writing. I will listen and communicate with my critique partners, attend writing workshops, and apply the knowledge I gain…rewriting my WIP. I will listen and become inspired by well known authors, agents, editors, etc. who act as mentors. Hopefully, I grow in my craft and become an author who makes our world a better place.