The 10,000 Things and Education
People in education often like to implement “programs.” In fact, we call this syndrome “program-itis” because it leads to inflammation of the budget. As with many corporation, we see people who want to improve a situation decide to follow “best practices” without verifying that these are, in fact, best practices. They can only be best practices if we have demonstrated that a specific item is indeed a best practice, either through testing or some other statistical analysis.
We may also end up with competing programs. We have seen this occur with Six Sigma and Lean, even though these approaches are not mutually exclusive, and have, in fact, led to something called Lean Six Sigma.
We continue to come back to the 10,000 thing (kaizen) approach for education, corporation, and organization because this approach nearly always works so long as management can stay focused on the goal rather than believing the blandishments of flim-flam men mounted on white horses.
Be wary of programs that promise to increase “awareness.” How do we measure “awareness” in any meaningful way? What we really want is modifications to behavior that move us toward our goals. This applies to the education business as much as it applies to any other. Let us not lose focus flitting after one program or another. Somehow it makes more sense to execute the fundamentals before we jump to the hot topic of the day.