Magazine article Technology & Learning

When Transforming and Innovating Your School Seems Hopeless: Three Things You Can Do

Magazine article Technology & Learning

When Transforming and Innovating Your School Seems Hopeless: Three Things You Can Do

Article excerpt

Most of us face situations in which success seems impossible or improbable, and many of them involve what Malcolm Gladwell calls "Goliaths" from his book, David and Goliath. These are adversaries or adverse conditions that appear to be insurmountable. In education, we often find ourselves facing "Goliaths" and our initial assessment is that we can't possibly succeed because we're out-manned, out-resourced, and out-powered. But, according to Gladwell, all is not lost. Our misconceptions about the situation and about who really has the power lie at the heart of the problem.

So what can we do? According to Gladwell, we can do the following:

Rethink what an "advantage" is. Conventional wisdom sometimes tells us what is and what is not an advantage. For example, a small school might seem to be at a disadvantage because it's not able to offer all the extracurricular activities, classes, and programs that much larger schools offer. Yet the smaller school might have the advantage of being more flexible and able to implement changes and improvements more easily and quickly than larger schools. Smaller schools with smaller staffs can certainly be nimble and can often react more quickly and gracefully to changing conditions. Gladwell reminds us that we can turn our apparent disadvantages into advantages.

Change the rules. We often feel hopeless in the midst of situations where we face adverse conditions and feel that loss is imminent. This hopelessness comes from the knowledge that, if we play by the rules in this situation, we're certain to lose. But who says we have to play by these rules? …

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