Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Best Practice or Creative Excellence
If you have ever flown on an airplane, you have no doubt heard a flight attendant reciting the pre-flight announcement telling passengers to place their seat backs in the upright position, to fasten their safety belts, turn off all personal electronic devices, stow all luggage properly in the overhead bins, etc. In my experience, just about everyone on the plane pays little attention.
I recently had an opportunity to watch a flight attendant on Southwest Airlines take a rather creative approach to the mandatory pre-flight announcement - to view the video click here
Whether or not this announcement was real or staged, it did cause me to reflect upon how we do business in education. When we identify someone who gets better results than anyone else, (whether a district, school or an individual teacher) we refer to their method as a "best practice" and then rush to find ways to duplicate their efforts. The problem is, not everyone has the same strengths and talents. As a result, mandating that others duplicate something as creative and unique as the flight attendant's rap announcement would be a recipe for failure for most. So too is it in the classroom - asking others to duplicate the unique strengths and talents is also often a recipe for failure.
Instead we need to outline the expectations and material to be covered, (just as the highly regulated Federal Aviation Administration does for the pre-flight announcement) and then create an atmosphere where the use of every individuals strengths and talents can result in unique and powerful results. Assuming a fundamental level of competency, it is not what we do but rather HOW we do it that often makes the difference!