Each Friday I send the Pleasantdale staff a weekly wrap up email. The purpose of this email is to inspire and highlight the wonderful things happening in our schools. As our schools continue to evolve and change we need to support our staff. Below is the email that was sent to staff this morning.
In your opinion, what does it take for someone to be an expert at something?
As a society, we often expect to be good at something after just a few tries. However, when our primary teachers help kids to learn the foundations of reading and math, we don’t expect kids to pick up a book and start reading with fluency and emotion. When Fred Bell and Eric Woltman put an instrument in a child’s hands, they don’t expect him/her to play like a virtuoso. When John Reid, Tanya Kim, and Jen Carnes discuss the scientific method, they don’t expect their students to complete complex chemistry after only a single lesson. When Dianne Washburn and Kristi Vervack hand a child a lump of clay for the first time, they don’t expect the child to create a world-class masterpiece.
The truth is that getting skilled at something takes time, practice, and patience. There is a theory (which is backed up by a significant body of research) that it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something. This concept was made famous by Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book Outliers. The concept is fairly simple: anyone who is great at anything took about 10 years to get really great.
This year (and the years to come) will be marked by growth and positive changes in our schools. These changes will often require staff to obtain new knowledge and skills. Any healthy organization will provide people with the components they need to be successful, including training, support, and TIME! We intend to provide all three.
Just as we provide our early readers ample time to practice new skills, we need to give teachers room to make mistakes, adjust, and try again. This will be true with implementing the student growth component of evaluation, new technology, new teaching methods, and improved practices in the classroom. We all want to be experts at what we do, and it can be scary when the game changes and we need to adjust. Our goal is to allow you the time and support to get your 10,000 hours and become an expert. As we travel down this road I only ask that you give us feedback to ensure successful implementation of Pleasantdale’s new future.
To watch a video that explains Gladwell’s 10,000 hours concept, CLICK HERE