“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” By George Bernard Shaw
Over the years, I have heard a lot of what I call “Yeah but’s”….these are the excuses/arguments educators make that usually have a fixed mindset verse a growth mindset. As a leader (you don’t need to be in a leadership position, to be a leader) you need to be able to navigate around the yeah but’s; here are a few I have heard with some possible solutions.
1. “Yeah But…I don’t have the time to integrate ________ (fill in the blank technology, PBL’s, data analysis etc.)” Solution: Try to find a way to make it so they are saving time, see the value in it and how it connects to the curriculum. For example: start slow by offering to create a Project or Problem Based Learning (PBL) for them that matches the curriculum (which is modeling in a different form) and then scaffold by doing one together etc.
2. “Yeah But…My students don’t have internet at home.” Solution: This is becoming a myth because often time educators don’t take the time to survey their class to see if they have internet and just assume they don’t. More and more homes are getting internet over cable! I have worked with several Title 1 schools and once we ask ‘do you have internet?’ they realized it was maybe only one student and often times the whole class did. (I do suggest a survey that is anonymous as you don’t want anyone to feel bad they don’t have internet). Another solution that has helped was creating a list of free wi-fi around the city/town. I often found that parents don’t realize they could get free internet at McDonald’s or the Public Library etc.
3. “Yeah But…I don’t want to have 1:1 devices in my classroom because students might cheat and I can’t control what they are doing on the device.” Solution: Sometimes explaining this is true but it is also true for paper and pencil classrooms helps educators to see more solutions verse seeing it as a problem. Empower the educators by asking what they would do if a student was not doing what they were suppose to be doing on the task given. This shows them the same classroom management that they have been using can still apply. You can also offer tips and tricks in classroom management that can help combat this. For example: Rearrange the classroom so that when the teacher is working with a small group, the students screens are facing them. (You want to be looking at the back of the students heads) This way they can see if they are on task by looking at their screens and feel more in control. There are also solutions like Nearpod that control the screens of devices; I am not a big fan of this as we need to build student ownership but it is a way to sometimes help educators that are reluctant.
4. “Yeah But…Google Apps for Education (GAFE) is too difficult and too much to keep up with in the classroom.” Solution: Again, like I said in the solution for how to integrate, try to find a way to make it so they are saving time, they see the value in it and how it connects to the curriculum. Model using something like Google Forms to create an assessment and then adding in Flubaroo so they can see how it can save them time from grading the assessment.
5. “Yeah But…Parents do their homework when I give them homework online.” Solution: Try explaining how giving any type of homework, parents can do their work for them. The key is to give quality homework that kids want to do and at their level so then they don’t need their parents help. Try creating a choice menu board for homework where students choose what they want to do.
6. “Yeah But…I only have a few computers in my room.” Solution: There are several ways to combat this one. Try creating a schedule to rotate the computers so the teacher can ‘see’ the management of it. Also show how in a true blended learning model you only need a few computers and offer some tips and tricks.
7. “Yeah But…My students aren’t motivated.” Solution: This is a hard one as usually it is not because the student isn’t motivated but because the lessons aren’t engaging. If the lessons aren’t engaging you can offer to model some lessons that are engaging or show how adding student choice is a huge motivation booster for students, even when it is only between two options. If it is the student, there are a few tips and tricks that you can offer that educator to help them with students motivation such as getting to better know their students’ interests and passions.
8. “Yeah But…rigor is overrated and just a catch-phrase.” Solution: I agree that the word is over used but I remind teachers the true essence of rigor a best practice. “Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at a high level, and each is supported so he or she can learn at a high level, and each student demonstrates learning at a high level.” (Blackburn, 2008) A great resource to offer is Rigor is Not a Four-Letter Word by Barbara Blackburn.
9. “Yeah But…I need to prepare my students for _____ (fill in blank with middle, high school or college) so the desks need to be in rows and I need to lecture.” Solution: It depend on which level you are working with. For those educators that say because they are going to middle school, have them tour a middle school to show how that is not what middle school is looking like any more, especially with more blended learning happening. For high school and college yes they haven’t changed as much but they are starting to. I try to explain that we need to do whats best for students and show the research behind best practices. For example the mini-lesson verse lecture. I use Salman Khan as my example and why he only does 10 minutes or less videos on Khan Academy. For the classroom design I use brain based research tips along with explaining how the workforce has changed.
10. Turning any “Yeah Buts” you hear into goals is another great way to combat the negative and turn it into a positive solution.
I would love to hear any yeah buts you have heard and a possible solution to add to my toolkit.