I was having lunch with a friend a few days ago and he told be about an Olympic rowing crew. Not a crew with Sir Steve Redgrave or Sir Matthew Pinsent, but another crew that was not expected be win gold. The crew had their difficulties and their ups and downs as any team of people will. They were in search of a bond that would get them closer to their goal of Olympic glory.
One of them came up with the phrase, “Will it make the boat go faster?” A very simple idea that the crew could use to tackle anything that came up. For example, if one of them was buying a coffee and was tempted by a doughnut, he could simply ask, “Will it make the boat go faster?” If the answer was no, then the doughnut stayed in the shop. It was a simple question that could cut through to what was really important to the group achieving their goal.
Teachers are superb at creating a whole mass of tasks. new initiatives are constantly being suggested by government, teachers new to the school, and many people in between. It is impossible ever to get to the end of a teachers ‘to do’ list – the list is ever expanding. Workload is one of the biggest bugbears of the profession and reportedly one of the reasons why so many teachers leave within the first five years.
I am certain a variation on the question above could make a significant difference to this workload and the guilt associated with not doing the best job possible on some tasks. The question is, “Will it make their learning better?” If the answer is yes, then whatever is being suggested deserves to be taken seriously. On the other hand, if the answer is no, then the suggestion must be dismissed.
Equally, some evaluation should be carried out at a later date. Did it really make their learning better? Can you be sure? If the answer to these questions is yes, then whatever you tried needs to be broadcast far and wide.
In case you were wondering, the unfancied crew did indeed win gold!