What do New Year’s resolutions, staff INSET and the Kaizen concept have in common? This was the question we were asked on our first day back after the Christmas break. The answer – it is important to recognise that it is the little changes that lead to long term and continuous improvement.
New Year’s resolutions are often broken because we demand too much of ourselves. We set demanding goals such as give up drinking, exercise every day or follow a no fat, no sugar diet and within a week have found that we have gone back to our comforting ways. Instead we should be trying to change something by 1%, such as walk 10,000 steps a day, or cutting down on sweet things, rather than banishing them altogether. Making a 1% difference is more attainable and by achieving these small goals, we will gain long term improvements.
At our recent staff INSET we were asked to look at how we could make a 1% difference to the way we teach every lesson. Leading educationalist, Dr Rosemary Taylor, stressed that making this 1% change would lead to continuous improvement. We looked at a variety of teaching strategies to employ to make the start of a lesson sharper, and a plethora of ideas to draw valuable conclusions together at the end of the lesson to ensure the girls left inspired and motivated.
This idea of making such small changes was instantly recognised as being attainable, and in making a small change we could visualise how it would result in immediate improvements, in a way that radical changes to our teaching techniques may not. Inspiring the girls to follow suit by making the 1% change to their learning habits also becomes an exciting prospect.
This idea is not new. It comes from the Kaizen practice of everyone in the business looking to make small changes, to lead to greater improvement. This philosophy underpinned Team GB’s cycling domination of the London 2012 Olympics. Under the direction of Sir Dave Brailsford everyone was encouraged to make a 1% marginal gain rather than radically changing their practice. So transformational was it to their performance that the French team accused the GB cycling team of riding bikes with “magic wheels”.
At BGS we strive to make a difference. It was good to be reminded that continually making small changes can lead to significant transformations. I have also ditched my ambition to try and run another marathon, my aim now is to walk 10,000 steps a day……