2. Doug Lemov - Developing A Safe Adult Culture Where Its Ok To Fail

24 October 2017

Here's an excerpt from Doug Lemov's Field Notes which explores how to develop a culture of error where its OK to fail. Click here.

Schools are learning organizations. Their goal is to help people assimilate new knowledge and apply it to solve challenging problems.

This statement applies as much when the ‘people’ in question are the adults in the building as it does when they are the students. In other words, a school’s goal — its primary one, you could argue — is to help teachers solve the inherent challenge of getting a diverse group of learners — different in every class and sometimes each day — to mastery on a wide variety of topics.

I was thinking about this when I was in Boston earlier this year, speaking to a group that works with schools and districts across the US. Their goal is to help schools use data to drive instruction: assess what students can do; feed that data back to teachers; consult with the schools on how to adapt and change instruction and how to train teachers to do that. It sounds like great work. It is great work. But one of its challenges is the same as one of the key challenges of the classroom and it, in my mind, turns out to be one of the key challenges of school leadership.

It’s something I refer to in Teach Like a Champion 2.0 as building a Culture of Error. First let me describe what this means when it exists in the classroom. Then I will describe what it means when it exists among the adults in a school.

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