So many times, especially in December and January, I find myself grabbing the remote to fast forward through the latest diet fad or workout program Judgment of my lack of workout ethic aside, go with me on this for a minute. These commercials, combined with a recent conversation from some of my most respected colleagues got me thinking. You can see the thought that prompted it on @mrbarnerwcms’s blog: Around the Corner Thinking.
So here’s my thought. When I’m looking to get into better shape after the holidays, I have a couple options.
1. Stop eating crap. This goes some way toward helping me bring the numbers on the scale down, but eventually I will plateau. Not only do I stop losing weight, but just eating healthier does nothing for muscle tone, and who needs that when you’re getting ready for swim suit season?!
2. Start working out so that I can continue eating crap. This doesn’t really work. At best, I maintain, at its worst, it gives me a stomach ache to down a plate of chili cheese fries after my run. But at least I feel like I was “allowed” to not feel guilty about the chili cheese fries, right?
3. Find a healthy balance of diet and exercise that includes a variety of cardio and strength training, lots of water, vegetables, and protein. The occasional treat is okay, and with a little hard work people start noticing a difference within a few weeks. And sure, it would be easier to lay in bed watching Gilmore Girls and eating ice cream, but when we’re looking for results, you know what they say…. No pain, no gain! Besides, hopefully that pain where you can barely walk or laugh or breathe without crying only lasts the first week or so.
So where am I going with all this?
Classroom change isn’t just about adding a few deep learning opportunities here, or simply getting rid of those low-level, recall based multiple choice tests. Substantive change in the classroom comes from finding a healthy balance between removing (or scaling back) less effective practices – the crap, ramping up deep learning and more effective practices – the exercise, and allowing yourself a few treats (Pajama day? A game?) along the way to keep it fun and interesting.
It might be tough at first, implementing meaningful change usually is. There’s a learning curve; you’re using muscles that may be out of shape or underdeveloped, and they need some time to adjust. Ease into it if you need to, but don’t be afraid to set big, marathon sized goals to push yourself.
You with me now? Good.