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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Implementing New Ideas

Implementing New Ideas

Related Tags: Social Studies
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Right now I'm implementing the Discovery Program curriculum in my classroom as the foundation for classroom discipline. http://www.thediscoveryinstitute.com/ One challenge I'm having is implementing it for the first time. Some things work, some don't, and I'm not as confident yet with it because it's new for me too and I'm finding my way. Are you ever challenged by first time implementation of something, in your classroom? How do you handle it? How does it impact management? How do you help support what you're implementing so it's successful for you and your students, when at the same time you're just getting to know what it looks like yourself? I tend to think (and experience) a fear of risk-taking, because it's often a process of trial and error. Trial and error is an excellent way of learning, yet the error becomes uncomfortable because of what it can mean... when it's high stakes. Yet teaching is often all about risk-taking and adjustment. What are your experiences, and do you have any thoughts for navigating risk-taking and 1st time implementation? Thanks :) Rachel

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Ron Peck's picture
Ron Peck
H.S. Social Studies teacher from Medford, Oregon.

Hi Rachel,
I think it is essential to take risks in the classroom. Some of my best lessons came from trying something new and different. Better to have tried and failed than to never have tried at all. That being said, it is also important to have a plan B just in case it just isn't working with your students. I like to have a couple of backup plans which in turn give me more confidence to take the risk. In the long run your students will be the big winners if they are engaged and learning from the risks you take.

Good Luck!

Hubert Yee's picture

Hi Rachael,

At Edcampsf, I heard a lot from cool teachers like Ron and others that lessons tend to change over time. One year the lesson might be a hit and another year may not be a right fit. I came from a nonprofit program perspective and not necessarily a teacher background, but I catalog activities so I can always pull them up if something doesn't work. If the curriculum doesn't work today it might do well another time.

ShawnMcCusker's picture
EdTechTeacher Instructor and Presenter, High School teacher In IL

Taking risks in the classroom is a necessary part of moving forward and getting better results. Recycling lessons yeilds known results, but come with an opportunity cost. You have to go out on a limb to get the fruit. Even lesson that dont go as planned help us to develop. I would go a step further and suggest that sharing what goes wrong in your lessons with a trusted group of professional friends can help all of you to grow. Finally I suggest that you debrief lessons whether succesful or not with your students. They can offer really good advice and will appreciate being asked.

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