The why, how, and what of professional learning

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Educators often focus on what they want to do to improve education. However, beginning with what they want to do may not be the best way to engage in professional learning or connect with colleagues in a professional learning community. See how Lois Brown Easton uses Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle to illustrate how education leaders can benefit from instilling a desire to change first, the why of change, before proceeding to the questions of how to make those changes and what is needed to implement them.

Learn more about professional learning at all
levels of education with Learning Forward,
an international membership association of
learning educators:

www.learningforward.org

Membership in Learning Forward gives you
access to a wide range of publications, tools,
and opportunities to advance professional
learning for student success.

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The why, how, and what of professional learning

  1. 1. By Lois Brown Easton
  2. 2. According to Simon Sinek, most people think of innovation and change in the order of 1.  What - what something does 2.  How - how something works 3.  Why - why something is neededAdapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  3. 3. The opposite order, he called the Golden Circle. Sinek proposed that leaders begin with why first, then address how, and, finally, what.Adapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  4. 4. Apple, Inc. * First addresses why people might want something Apple produces: because it makes them seem cool, avant-garde, and savvy * Then examines how a product makes people seem cool and avant-garde: design, functionality, and leading-edge technology * Finally considers what the product isAdapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  5. 5. The key to why is information * What do we know? What do our data tell us? * Are we satisfied with what we have learned about our students academically, socially, and personally? * Is their status quo good enough for us? * Are we willing to make change in some way?Adapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  6. 6. How requires attention to the people engaged in change: * Who they are * What they need, * How they will be affected * How they will work togetherAdapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  7. 7. Eventually, it will be clear to people in professional learning communities what they need to do, and they will be informed and persuasive advocates for their own work.Adapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  8. 8. Read Lois Brown Easton’s original article, published in Tools for Learning Schools, and download Easton’s PLC Learning Game at www.learningforward.org/news/issueDetails.cfm?issueID=349Adapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.
  9. 9. To learn more about professional learning at all levels of education, visit Learning Forward, an international nonprofit association of learning educators: www.learningforward.org Membership in Learning Forward gives you access to a wide range of publications, tools, and opportunities to advance professional learning for student success.Adapted from The why, how, and what of professional learning, published in Tools for LearningSchools, available at http://www.learningforward.org/toolsforschools.

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