Ideas, Influence, Impact

Posts tagged ‘purpose’

The Purpose of a Transformed Educational System


In his new book, How Will You Measure Your Life?, Clayton Christensen speaks about a company’s purpose, and how it must be deliberately conceived and chosen – and pursued.  It is what defines the company.  And in the book, Christensen defines a purpose into three components – likeness, commitment and metrics.

I have thought a lot about those three components of purpose, and how I would translate them into a transformed system of education.  In the personalized learning (competency-based education) system I dream of and work to put into practice, a new purpose is the foundation for this new system.

  • I am working hard to develop a clear likeness (or “essence” if you listen to me much) about what this system looks like, sounds like and feels like.
  • Further, I am contemplating the new commitments that will need to be made by students, teachers, administrators, and community members.
  • Finally, I am always intrigued – and perplexed – by the right type of metrics that should be used to maintain our purpose and check our progress.

There has been a lot of discussion about the purpose of a new personalized system of learning.  I hope these three components will illuminate the conversation and lead to some resolution.


The What Before The How

With a new school year started, we are busy thinking about all the things we want to accomplish this year.  We are thinking about our reading scores, our math curriculum, our science standards, our fine arts, our athletic teams, our building goals, our community’s expectations, and our state reports (couldn’t resist!)

In the midst of all of the ‘doing’, we need to take time to determine the validity of the doing.  Educators are great at searching for “the how” to improve scores, implement curriculum, unpack standards, build students relationship and support district initiatives.  We need to be even better at knowing “the what” and “the why”.

It makes no sense to look for new instructional strategies if we are not clear as to the type of instruction we want – or need.  We must take the time to continually reflect on what we want and need to succeed.  We cannot do what we have always done just because it is comfortable.  We should do it because we get the results we need.  We must be clear about our vision, our passion, and our needs.  Then, we can determine our action steps.  The “how” must never come before the “what” and the “why”.

Once we define our purpose, then we determine our practices.

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