When talking with education professionals about the barriers to innovation and personalized learning models, almost all point to one commodity that they need more of; time. However, time is not something you cannot simply manufacture more of. This often leads to frustration, a sense of helplessness, and few solutions that address the status quo. In our collaborations with educational organizations, those that are overcoming the time barrier are thinking about the following:
Initiative overload and uncoordinated program implementation are sure-fire ways to inefficiently use the time you do have. A comprehensive vision and strategic plan should serve as the roadmap for all initiatives in your organization. A well-developed vision and plan serve as THE work of an organization rather than something else to add on.
We often hear the phrase “I don’t have any more room on my plate” when working with educators. Most of the time, this is because over the years they have not removed items that aren’t working or are the remnants of old initiatives. Conducting an exercise, in which you examine everything currently on the “plate” to systematically remove anything not in direct alignment with your vision, should be an annual activity and can provide the needed incentive for educators to innovate.
How are you currently using the time you do have? Most organizations will tell us about their staff meetings, professional learning community time, goal teams, committees, mandated professional learning time, etc. We always ask people to consider removing the labels and consolidating the total allotted time into one “bank” of minutes. From that bank, allocate time according to needs that align with your vision. This leads to personalization of how contractual time is used by individual schools and ultimately increased efficiency with the time we already have.
Talent and Tools
More often than not, schools have under-utilized talent and tools in their organization. We have great educators, parent and community volunteers, and in most cases a basic technology infrastructure. We must do more to get the most out of our existing talent and tools though. Investing in personalized professional learning that enables our human resources to branch out and become responsible innovators is critical. This includes opportunities to use technology to leverage time in our stakeholders’ favor. Having a wealth of resources does nothing if we don’t invest the time into learning how to best use them.
We would love to hear about how you are re-imagining time or planning to do so. As always, please contact us with your questions and organizational needs. G&D can help!