This post is inspired by Simon Sinek, one of the people I look up to in my role as a leader. If you haven’t heard of him before – do yourself a favor and start with this 5-minute video about ‘starting with your why’.
Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it” and in education, this is more important now than ever! Why we do things is the purpose and reason behind anything we do and should be known and visible to all stakeholders.
Here are 5 reasons “WHY” should be the first word in your mind in ALL aspects of Education:
- Evidence and Data – evidence-based practice is important in today’s education world. What this means is backing up what you do with data to show how and why it will be successful. Making decisions based on evidence and data helps people understand what you are doing and how you are going to go about it. If you can’t answer the why you shouldn’t continue as it probably isn’t backed by suitable data or evidence to make a difference.
- Pedagogy first, Technology second – in my world as Head of Educational Technology the why is summarized in this way —> Pedagogy first, Technology second – many schools don’t do this well – technology is purchased because it is the latest and greatest, or there are other motives. If you ever get the chance ask yourself WHY when making a tech purchasing decision to ensure that you have effective pedagogy in place with a plan!
- Sustainability – Sustainability of tools, products or systems are often not considered in enough detail in educational institutions – when important decisions are made in an organization, multiple stakeholders are (or should be) involved. Questions should be asked and evidence provided to back up the WHY! Sustainable approaches should be put in place. As an example, if you are developing a digital learning model, you would need to think 3, 5 and 10 years ahead to ensure this can be maintained and executed effectively.
- Marketing and Communication – Such an important aspect of schooling now is the marketing of what happens. Many private institutions have marketing teams to help spread the word about the great things happening. Most schools are also fully utilizing the power of Social Media too. I believe that the WHY here is also often forgotten. Why should parents and students come to your school?! What are the best things that make a difference?! If you can’t justify this and back it up, why are you marketing it? My best advice is to be transparent and tell your schools TRUE story!
- Adding value to student learning – Any decisions in a school should ultimately come back to adding value to student learning, our core business! It is as simple as that!