Culture will tell you what it needs, but only if you ask it

We had the pleasure of having Zac Chase as a guest facilitator this past week in one of my principal licensure cohorts. Zac was amazing, which is no surprise to anyone who knows him.

One of our activities with Zac was using the Question Formulation Technique to unpack teachers’ and students’ beliefs about school culture and climate. For instance, we can take an affirmative statement that represents a desired end goal such as “Nearly all of our students can be successful in a Tier 1 instructional environment without interventions” or “We can achieve equity in our extracurricular programs.” Then in small groups we can brainstorm questions like crazy without any self-censoring. Examples might be “How do we do this with English language learners?” or “What about students who don’t have transportation home after school hours?” Then we can collect, organize, and prioritize all of our questions to uncover what concerns and needs we have around that topic. Finally, we would allocate resources and support structures to help us address those needs.

My students found a lot of value in the technique and recognized the power it can have in their future administrative careers. As Zac said, “[Your school] culture will tell you what it needs, but only if you ask it.” Let’s do more asking instead of telling or mandating…

Thanks for visiting, Zac!

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