- Administrator and "Teaching Students to Dig Deeper" author Ben Johnson writes for Edutopia that educators can learn much from the efforts of Nike's Breaking2 team to hit a goal of running a full 26.2-mile marathon in under two hours.
- The primary takeaway, he writes, is that significant improvements to learning require not just skilled and dedicated educators, but individualized learning plans for each student.
- Additionally, he notes that the concept of individualized education programs from special education can be expanded to all students, and that schools and districts must first understand their actual capacity and potential before launching any efforts, strategize the use of tools and environment, and set "mile-by-mile" goals.
In many ways, education can be like running a marathon. Everyone has their own pace that they're comfortable with, and attempting to go at a sprint isn't likely to best serve anyone. The latter can be hard to avoid in some instances, however, when high-stakes testing is involved and teachers are pressured to primarily teach students to perform well on state assessments.
Those pressures, of course, are also largely out of administrators' hands, but with the expanded testing flexibility afforded under the Every Student Succeeds Act, there is some hope that those concerns may soon be alleviated.
In the meantime, it's worth keeping in mind for administrators that teachers are often their school or district's best untapped "innovation engines." Relying on their insight and ideas when planning any new effort can ensure a more robust understanding of what their actual capacity is when setting goals and working to avoid burnout under more active learning models.