What’s Your Why?

Fake Dictionary, Dictionary definition of the word why.

In my high school math classroom, with struggling learners, I’m not a stranger to the word and question “why”.  Since it’s not a particular area of interest to my students, they really want to know that there is a purpose to the task at hand.  Just like my students, I want to know that there is a reason and that I’m not wasting my time.  After reflecting about my innovation plan and my learning so far along my Digital Learning and Leading journey, I was able to solidify my why, how and what.

Why: I believe that I must prepare my students for their post-secondary lives as lifelong learners, by teaching them to reflect on their learning and to accept challenges throughout the learning process.

How: I will create an authentic learning environment through the use of technological tools to allow students to learn, collaborate with others and reflect on the learning process; to prepare students for their post-secondary lives.

What: Students will create an ePortfolio that depicts their learning process, that will build a foundation for how they learn and will continue to learn, as lifelong learners.

In a world of standardized tests, grades and GPAs; I really feel that the learning process gets lost.  By incorporating my “why, how, what”, I believe that along with myself and the students the administration will see how my implementation of ePortfolios for students will change how they learn.  Instead of drilling information into their heads, so to speak, they will be finding the information and learning at a deeper level through reflection and collaboration.  Instead of teaching the students the information that we think is necessary, they are able to learn information and make meaningful connections while the teacher facilitates.  These three simple words can really initiate a monumental change in education.

While I was developing my innovation plan, I really tried to focus on the “why”.  My thought during the process was, if I can’t find the “why” in my plan, then how can my students?   By knowing the “why”, my students will not be motivated by the grades, which won’t make a meaningful connection that will truly stick with them.  By knowing the “why”, my students will be intrinsically motivated to want to do their best and want to learn.  This will have a much better result, rather than just feeding my students information and facts that I think will motivate them.  As I previously stated in my last post, Tim Asacker stated: “Information doesn’t move us, desire moves us.”

When establishing a sense of urgency, for change, students need to really understand the importance.  They need to know the “why” or the importance of this urgent matter.  Dr. Kotter mentions in the “Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency” video that this needs to be done in the beginning.  I have to say I completely agree.  Without beginning with the “why” students aren’t really going to connect to what’s going on in the classroom.  I really feel that when students find their “why” during the task at hand, it will “win over their hearts and minds.” (Kotter, 2011)   I really believe that my statements create a sense of urgency for my school to shift their focus from grades to the learning process.  My statements will urge my school to focus on the learning process, instead of collecting the dots, and in turn allow students to have the most beneficial learning experience.



Asacker, T. (2014, June 30). Why TED talks don’t change people’s behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jTZ-GP0N4&feature=youtu.be

Kotter, J. (2011, March 23). John Kotter – The heart of change. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/1NKti9MyAAw

Kotter, J. (2013, August 15). Leading change: establish a sense of urgency. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/2Yfrj2Y9IlI 

To deliver results start with why? (2018, June 26). Retrieved from https://www.clomedia.com/2016/08/17/to-deliver-results-start-with-why/

The Head Won’t Go Where the Heart Hasn’t Been


Change can be a difficult concept to grasp for a lot of people.  I personally have had to move away from my fixed mindset to a growth mindset.  I really did not like change.  I was flexible in the classroom and would adapt for students needs and, or so I thought.  After taking my first class I realized that I was not as flexible and open minded as I thought.  Along with noticing how I dealt with change, I also became in tune with how others’ idea of change.  After watching the videos for the week, I know that I need to focus on the heart and not just the facts when trying to promote change.

I think we traditionally targeted the mind and ignored the heart, when trying to promote change, because people that that they need to prove their point with facts.  When I think of this, it makes me think about when I’m speaking with my students about preparing for the future.  I think that there are so many times that we try to reach our high school students that feel like they have no direction, to ignite a spark and to want to prepare for their future.  Just giving facts about isn’t going to ignite that change in the student. Teachers need to inspire students to feel good of their true self and identity, to learn their truth and a desire to be their best.  Then in turn, students will be motivated to prepare for their desired future.  As Tom Asacker stated, “Information doesn’t move us, desire moves us”.

Answering the why is such an important part of change.  The “why” is the motivation  to do the things we do.  If an individual is able to answer the “why”,  they have a reason and become intrinsically motivated.  This can easily be related to the classroom.  There are students that are either motivated by grades or not.  If the student that isn’t motivated by grades can understand the “why” of the assignment they will be intrinsically motivated to want to do the assignment, because they see the relevancy of the assignment.  It is our goal as teachers to be able to help the students find the “why” in anything we do in the classroom.



Asacker, T. (2014, June 30). Why TED talks don’t change people’s behaviors: Tom Asacker at TEDxCambridge 2014. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jTZ-GP0N4&feature=youtu.be

Follow the way that your heart leads you. (2017, May 25). Retrieved from https://www.slickwords.com/follow-the-way-that-your-heart-leads-you/