In the event that a fellow educator mentioned to you that you could fail and it not be fatal, but a formal invitation never arrived … I have something for you.
The HotLunchTray requests your presence at your next big failure. The HotLunchTray proudly wishes to celebrate with you at your next opportunity to likely learn what does not work, but maybe what does work.
While teachers prepare for, dream of, and continue to hope for successful classroom moments, we will still fail. No one has formally taught teachers how to fail forward, or intelligently though, and that is why you need this formal invitation to participate in, your next failure.
Failure is scary. So scary that many avoid it, but that also avoids possible success. How can you take a chance and maybe fail, but for sure learn something, but maybe without it being quite so scary?
Identify the Variables
When you try out one of your ideas, start by identifying all the variable you will manipulate and the variable you predict will change as a matter of your control over that one variable. Plan to have a data set which remains unchanged.
Mitigate Impact on Students
It is not ethical to try your “good” idea out on only some students, believing that you are using a lesser strategy with another group of students.
Consider other options, students averages from comparable classes of students within the most similar situations, historical data as close to your current students as possible. Consider also alternating your new strategy with your existing strategy by chunks of instruction/units.
Be prepared to share with anyone interested how you mitigate the impact on your students.
Don’t Pick Winners or Losers
When you try an AB test, resist the temptation to invest in one side winning. This becomes tempting when the experiment starts happening between two class periods and you start to worry that you are going to ruin the test scores of one of your groups of kids. The learning is still happening. And maybe I shouldn’t tell you, but kids can correct quicker than you realize, so don’t panic when you start to f̶a̶i̶l̶, I mean to learn something.
Let your experiments play out and then gather data from the students however you can.
Reception to follow, meet me at Bus Duty and we can discuss just one more way that it didn’t work, this time, and plan for the next time.
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