a poorly implemented great idea

I came across this the other day:

from the Learning Nation Blog:
The Knowing-Doing Gap (or kdg, as I will refer to it from this point forward in this post) comes from a concept originally penned by Pfeffer and Sutton, who describe it thusly:

“the challenge of turning knowledge about how to enhance organizational performance into
actions consistent with that knowledge. Improving organizational performance depends
largely on implementing what is already known, rather than from adopting new or
previously unknown ways of doing things.”

And then I started thinking again.

And I like this idea.

It seems like every year there is a new “thing” to help our students. And it seems like the only reason we have a new “thing” is because the old “thing” didn’t work.
Well, logical reasoning would dictate that the reason that the old “thing” didn’t work is because it wasn’t a good idea. But then, if it wasn’t a good idea, why was the old “thing” ever implemented to begin with? hhhmmmmm….
Apparently, lots of people know lots of really great stuff about education. And yet we are still in an educational crisis…

Here’s my theory. Most “things” in education have, at their roots, very similar objectives. We all want to help students learn by using targeted instruction, use assessment data to drive that instruction, make sure ALL students are growing, collaborate, etc. Now the packaging and delivery of these ideas can look very different. But most of the “things” have the same objectives.I’m not saying that we don’t ever need new things. Actually, there are many new things that come from sound research and emerging technology that are amazing. But these new things usually don’t need to completely redirect our course, only refine it and in some cases, reaffirm it.

And so, instead of switching from thing to thing, let’s take a closer look at what our current “thing” is trying to do and focus on doing that really well. Instead of completely abandoning the old “thing”, let’s take a closer look at how we did it. Do we need to refine? Are there adjustments to be made? Because a poorly implemented great idea doesn’t work.

In fact, maybe we don’t really need a “thing” after all. Because it’s not about the “thing”, it’s what you do with it. 

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