What questions should we ask?

Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership
Group at Harvard University’s graduate school of education, discussed 5 essential questions in a commentary on the EdWeek site. (You will need to register to read the entire article.)

He said,

So what are some questions change leaders might
learn to wrestle with? What might be the equivalent
“Five Habits of Mind for Change Leadership”
we could work on together?

In our work, my colleagues and I have identified a
sequence of questions that, if pursued rigorously, and
courageously, can lead to a deeper understanding of the challenges we face as well as
more effective strategies for dealing
with them:

• What is the problem we are
trying to solve, or the obstacle we
are trying to overcome, and what
does it have to do with improving
teaching and learning?

• What are our strategies for
solving this problem, and how
and why do we think implementation
of these strategies will
cause the change that’s needed—what’s our “theory of action”?

• Who (teachers, parents, students,
community) needs to understand
what, in order to “own
the problem” and support the
strategies we’re implementing?

• Who is accountable for what
for implementation of this strategy
to be successful, and what do
they need to be effective?

• What evidence (observable
changes in short-term outcomes
or behaviors) will we track that
will tell us whether our strategies
are working?

Certainly, as we think about how we use technology in the classroom, we should also consider these, especially the first: What does this have to do with teaching and learning? I hope we keep this in the forefront as we move through the year exploring new ways to help students learn.