Monday, November 10, 2014

Would You Eat The Dog Food You Serve?

In 1980, Apple Computer president Michael Scott wrote a memo announcing that:
"EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!! NO MORE TYPEWRITERS ARE TO BE PURCHASED, LEASED, etc., etc." by the computer company, with a goal to eliminate typewriters by 1 January 1981. Apple is an innovative company. We must believe and lead in all areas (Inc. Magazine, 1981).
If Apple truly believed that word processing was more efficient and effective than the typewriter, it needed to show it. Apple refused to simply pay lip service to its innovative talk, it led by example. Apple ate its own dog food.

Zooming closer to the present:
Facebook rolls out most features to employees first, and only then to a subset of external customers. Employees, of course, already use Facebook every day and can provide instant feedback (GeekWire, 2013).
If a new feature isn't good enough for Facebook employees, why would it be good enough for the public? If a new idea doesn't jive with those closest to Facebook, how could it work with the world? Facebook gives its dog food to its own employees first. Would they eat it?

So what's my point here?

Think about your own classroom. Think about the work. Think about the routines. Think about the discipline. Think about the assignments. Think about the expectations. Think about it all. Would you eat the dog food served in your own classroom?

Much has been made recently of teachers and administrators shadowing students (read here and here). Some findings: kids sit a lot, kids are exhausted, kids passively listen most of the day. No surprise there. We tend to teach like we were taught. The dog food recipe hasn't changed much.

Its worth thinking deeply about.

Would I eat the dog food served in my classroom?

Would you expect someone else to eat the dog food served in your classroom?

If not, what can we change about the recipe? How we improve our dog food immediately?

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