Creating educational programs and systems that work for all kids has been my work for a long time. I have grown to understand that asking educators to change how they work produces a range of very human responses:
- Let’s go!
- Sounds good, but how?
- Maybe… Can you show me that it works?
- Yes, but what about this?
- No Way!
Student Aspirations guru Dr. Russ Quaglia (Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations) was one of my graduate professors and served on my dissertation committee. He used to talk about three kinds of educators, when it comes to school change:
- Yes Buts
The Yahoos are those folks who are always excited about new and interesting practices, programs and resources and were anxious to try them out in their own classroom.
The Yes Buts seem hesitant and skeptical of the initiatives with their questions of “but what about this and what about that?”
The NFWs are the folks who look a little like Yes Buts with their questions of “but what about this and what about that?” but who are really saying to themselves and their fellow NFWs, “No freaking way am I doing this!”
Each present their own challenge to the school change and each needs a different kind of attention and support.
This is the beginning of a series of posts exploring what we misunderstand about Yahoos, Yes Buts and NFWs, and how to best support each. Frankly, the advice is counterintuitive in places, but is based on practical experience successfully implementing large-scale, learning-focused school change.
Next in the series: How we misunderstand Yahoos.