When schools try to innovate, they often take a traditional top-down approach: devise a strategy, roll it out to teachers and support a high-fidelity implementation. The end result is often one that lacks teacher support or genuine enthusiasm — initiatives putter along and change is sporadic or modest.
In education and beyond, innovation is usually the result of iteration rather than central planning. In schools that succeed in implementing real instructional improvements, teachers figure out how to improve teaching and learning by journeying through multiple passes of a cycle of experiment, reflection and adjustment.
Administrators have four powerful places where they can “grease the gears” of this cycle: creating an R&D budget, supporting opportunities for team learning, creating spaces for broader teacher sharing and learning, and building consensus around a shared vision and shared instructional language.
For Reich’s full piece, click here.