Dr. Deming’s Points 6, 8, 13 (excerpts)
#6 “Institute training on the job.”
#8 “Drive out fear so that everyone may work effectively for the company.”
#13 “Institute a vigorous program of education and self-improvement.”
My reflection: American education has been notorious for trying out the next best thing ever since the 80s report stating our nation was at risk. Often times, the implementation of (insert a name here, it’s changed so many times in my career) moves forward without proper training and planning. Professional development should update teachers on current best practices and tools yearly, and mentors should be experts in that field. Methods to motivate teachers to reflect on their teaching to make improvements should be a positive part of every school year. (A destructive number evaluation is not motivating.) Training should be adequate and encouraging, and part of our day. When rolling out something new, teachers need time to grasp new material before rolling out that program to the students. We shouldn’t be expected to “do it on our own time.” That kind of attitude de-values our profession. If the training is crucial to doing our job properly, then we should have time during our workday to learn proficiently.
I know this is a long post today, but I’d like to give an example. We recently bought a new car. I know how to drive a car safely. However, every 4 years or so, I get a new-to-me vehicle and there are upgrades. Buttons I’ve never seen before, new interior lights and sounds. I don’t need help learning how to drive, but I do need the salesman to show me what all the new gadgets do and how to use them. He’s the expert in that case. In addition, when I drive away after the 30-minute demonstration, I still need days, if not weeks, to get used to my new car. The same is true for new, best practices for teaching. I don’t need to learn how to “teach” my students, but I do need an expert to show me how to access new tools, utilize them efficiently, and have time to process using them. And let’s be clear, because I am asking for this extra guidance, it doesn’t mean I am a complainer and I don’t want to learn new things. I’m asking because I want to do well and in self-reflection, I know what I need to be able to do my job in the best way possible. Most teachers I know have pride in their strong work ethic, and are motivated to do what it takes to meet the needs of their students. Communication, trust, and encouragement are needed for people to work together, upgrade using all the news bells and whistles, and eventually, make the classroom hum.
Don’t we owe it to the future of our country to make proper preparations to service the whole child? Children have potential, and what are we cultivating as a culture? At this point, schools are producing anxious children who don’t know how to play (interact with other humans) or problem solve. I think the purpose of our job as educators is to develop efficient, effective, healthy brainpower in our children who are inspired to be positive citizens in our communities. How can we “grow” the best qualities in our students? To answer the question, I think the study of brain development in children should be front and center. Children (their brains, how they interact and communicate) are our future.