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/


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