5 Ways an Educational Institution Can Achieve Success
Kids do weird stuff, and I mean this literally. Sometimes, what makes kids think that the way they behave is OK is that they don’t have permission to let people know how weird they are. Most of the time, kids’ behavior is just part of being a kid—part of being a human, really. But if you or I ran a school, we might need to toughen up about just how kids behave.
I just so happen to work in a school that goes about its business much like one would in the real world. Here’s what it takes to be a successful educational institution:
1. Appreciate the Human Experience. As one of my former principals told me, “You might not know how the human brain works, but your kids do, and when you treat people that way, they are receptive to ideas.” This is where “self-regulation” comes in. In the real world, when you’re playing soccer or chess or basketball, you learn a great deal about your peers by how they behave. Likewise, it’s no wonder that academic success can be predicated on how student behavior is managed (i.e., how the school provides students with a supportive environment and sets clear expectations).
“Life is short. Life is precious. Our teachers should have the same value.” ~ Al Gore
2. Minimize Distractions. I don’t care if you’re 8 or 80—distractions don’t help kids learn. Why? Because their brains are hard-wired to process information and learn things at the right time. I know some parents may try to minimize or counteract distractions by taking their kids to sporting events or county fairs, but it’s basically the same thing: distracting the kids (in the short term) to encourage them to focus and memorize, all while letting other distracters (for example, the crowd and the speech to the judges) win. Students who are better behaved have less need for distractions, which is what leads to smarter learning.
3. Find Cool Interns. Let’s face it: Most people, not just kids, find other kids and their lives pretty entertaining. If you are running a school, take advantage of this and make internships a little more exciting and rewarding. That’s not to say that students should be stuck doing administration work—I know some cool office settings, including Google and BMW. But some others include writing for a student newspaper, working as a cross-town photographer, or creating a cool university history series. Beyond the cubicle and office walls, there are countless kinds of fun things to do.
“Whose school is this? I’m not your school.” ~ Harmony Korine
4. Support Your Team. I get it: You love being in a school. You love seeing your kids get promoted, challenged, and promoted again. And you appreciate a good teacher. But it’s also important to keep tabs on where kids and their staff are. It’s a delicate balance, of course, but that kind of net is a terrific way to find kids and staff who are most effective in maintaining self-regulation and who are willing to learn from other kids and teachers.
“I swear I’m not going to get as high as Bono.” ~ Denis Leary
5. Make Smart and Funny Choices. In business and personal life, we make all kinds of choices that don’t necessarily make us look good or feel good. And just like with business and personal life, some outcomes can have a positive impact, and some can have negative. In business and in life, most of the time, it’s about the bigger picture. If we make smart choices, the decisions will be, on average, better, more focused, and more intentional than if we don’t.
Continue reading at huffingtonpost.com/hollywood-guides/how-failure-and-solving-real-problems-help-this-school-thrive