Saturday, June 8, 2013

This is the way we’ve always ridden this horse

I have been reading a couple of books and articles on school culture or 'school climate'.  A positive school culture is the cornerstone of a good school. It is the foundation for a school's improvement. Yet... it often goes unmentioned and unaddressed. 

I also read a great article on Venspired, Is Your School Leaking?

And another on the Huffington Post: Why School Culture Matters, and How to Improve It.

But the one thing I learned, the one thing that has 'stuck'... is this following bit of final advice I received comparing school culture to horse training:

"Common advice from knowledgeable horse trainers includes the adage, “If the horse you’re riding dies, get off.” Seems simple enough, yet, in the education business we don’t always follow that advice. Instead, we often choose from an array of alternatives which include: 
  • Buying a stronger whip.
  • Trying a new bit or bridle.
  • Switching riders.
  • Moving the horse to a new location.
  • Riding the horse for longer periods of time.
  • Saying things like, “This is the way we’ve always ridden this horse.”
  • Appointing a committee to study horses.
  • Arranging to visit other sites where they ride dead horses efficiently.
  • Increasing the standards for riding dead horses.
  • Creating a test for measuring our riding ability.
  • Comparing how we’re riding now with how we did it 10 or 20 years ago.  
  • Complaining about the state of horses these days.
  • Coming up with new styles of riding.
  • Blaming the horse’s parents. The problem is in the breeding. "

Best to always remember that if the horse you're riding dies, get off. Get yourself a new horse. No amount of testing or measuring or complaining will help.

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