I recently listened to a radio program that highlighted new technologies in the auto industry. Specifically, it focused on driverless cars.  Along with their excitement, the program hosts discussed the concept of “override.”  What happens when a human wants to take control of the car from the automated system?  They debated what may or may not happen and whether, in fact, people would be able to take over control of an automated car.

While automation in the auto industry does not translate directly, the discussion got me to thinking how much in our schools we rely on systems, traditions, habits and comfort zones.  Do we rely too much on existing systems to guide our work in schools?  Do we challenge ourselves each day to consider ways we can enhance our teaching strategies, our abilities to engage each student and our aspirations for each student to fully develop?

If our car’s automated system began to operate in ways that endanger us we would try to override the system and gain control ensuring our safety. I wonder if we have similar reactions in place when we teach, share and learn with our students.

I know when I am in classrooms I rely on habits I have developed to effectively engage each student, but now wonder if I rely too much on these strategies and not enough on ensuring each student really is engaged.  In other words how comfortable am I to override my habits and comfort to acknowledge I may not be as effective as I think?

We know that comfort can lead to complacency and that taking risks allows us to consider alternative strategies to effectively engage each student to fully develop.

Given the radio program’s focus on overriding automated cars, I am going to focus on more frequent assessments of my teaching and learning strategies and make adjustments if they fall short of expectations.  After all our students deserve the most effective and efficient strategies requiring each of us to consider our current practices and make changes leading to each students’ fullest development.

Terry Pickeral
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Terry Pickeral

Terry Pickeral, has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations, evaluation and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.
Terry Pickeral
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