Feb 7, 2011
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The Little BIG Things of Education

I just finished reading Tom Peters’ book, “The Little BIG Things: 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence” which he outlines a variety of small things that people can do in business and in life that make huge positive impact on customers and colleagues.

A few of them I was stymied how I could relate it to education.  But most of them, there was a direct link.  Things like:

“So quantify quality all you want (please do, please do!) … but don’t forget that quality is equally — nay,primarily — determined by something that is elusive, mysterious, emotional, indefinable. And…in the eye of the beholder.”


“Most of us believe in and spend our time doing on-the-cheap, rapid experimentation, picking off the “low-hanging fruit,” muddling our way through big change.”


“Keep the new inputs pouring in; they’re the best path to a sustaining top-line obsession, marked by a constant string of new products and services. … That is, ‘surrounded by new inputs-ideas-people’ becomes ‘the new normal.’ It becomes odd not to be bombarded by new ideas and their proponents.”


“We became labor because they stamped us, ‘You are labor.’ We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.”


“As information and intelligence become the domain of computers, society will place new value on the one human ability that cannot be automated: emotion.”


“implementation of anything is about 95 percent politics.”


“It is not enough to do your best — you must succeed in doing what is necessary.”


“She or he who tries the most stuff — wins!”


“You can’t be a serious innovator unless and until you are ready, willing and able to seriously play. ‘Serious play’ is not an oxymoron; it is te essence of innovation.”


“I believe that the Mother of [Almost] All Innovation is …fury. Abiding anger at the way things are … coupled with an ‘irrational’ (statistically inappropriate) determination to beat back the innumerable protectors of the status quo and find and implement a better way.”


This books struck me that being an effective educator is a balancing act of ‘soft’ skills.  But it also made me wonder…

What are the little BIG things specific to education?

What are the little things we can do / improve on, as a system or as a professional to more greatly impact student learning?

This will be the beginning of a blog series…stay tuned.

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