Sustained Learning Yields Great Options for Your Staff and Students

In the fast-paced, immediate-gratification environment we live in today, it becomes more and more challenging to set aside time to “indulge’ ourselves in sustained thinking. Sustained thinking is time set aside, with limited distractions, in order to properly attain the best available solutions to issues we face throughout our careers.

In his book Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It, marketing consultant Al Ries gives a tremendous illustration comparing the sun and a laser.

“The sun is a powerful source of energy.  Every hour the sun washes the earth with billions of kilowatts of energy.  Yet with a hat and some sun-screen, you can bathe in the light of the sun for hours at a time with few ill effects. A laser is a weak source of energy.  A laser takes a few watts of energy and focuses them in a coherent stream of light.  But with a laser you can drill a hole in a diamond or wipe out a cancer.”

Whether you are challenging your staff to help contribute possible solutions for issues that arise from the ever-changing needs of your community impacting your school or creating a new generation of leaders, problem solvers from among your students, opportunities for sustained thinking will invariably generate more powerful options than just within a scheduled meeting.

Far better to present the issue and the desired resolve. Then, allow your staff to have time to think through various options. When you reconvene, you would, no doubt, be pleased with the various solutions presented to you in comparison to options given at the same meeting with then issue was presented.

The same benefits are given to students. In education, the schedule is so constrained. Concepts are presented in the time allotted. There is little time for review, let alone time for sustained thinking on such concepts.

When students are given the opportunity to explore and experience the concepts outside the classroom, sustained thinking takes place. Immersion enables the students to fully grasp concepts presented in the classroom. In conversation, when speaking about field trips, this explains why people throughout the whole spectrum of ages all remember their field trips. It was a time dedicated to sustained thinking about curricular objectives.

Many times, students pursue career options from the various field trip experiences in which they were able to participate, largely due to the fact that they had a sustained amount of time to think what people do for a living and how that looks as a career field. The traditional model to share a multitude of career options with our students through elements like “Career Day.” However, a 5-10 minute speech from a professional cannot compare to taking the students to professional in their field of expertise. This will provide the opportunity to see the leader in action. This answers the who, what, why, when and how of any particular career field.

Especially, in a day where we want to equip student to become college AND career ready, why not provide the experiences for them to make the best choices of what career path to choose. Once they are able to have a sustained learning experience, you will find a student who is highly motivated to be equipped for life.

As for your staff, they will have a higher level of ownership in your school, as well as a sense of pride as their insights are valued. By encouraging sustained learning, you will be encouraging leaders among your staff and your students. Everyone in the learning community benefits.

Take the time necessary for sustained learning. You will not be disappointed in the results from you, your staff and your students.