3 Phrases I Have Been Rethinking

Inspired by my good friend Tony Sinanis and his post, “5 Phrases I’m Letting Go,” I decided to think about three phrases that I am removing trying to rethink in my work in both education and leadership.  Here are expressions I have been thinking about lately.

Phrase 1:

“We have to move away from traditional practice.”

Traditional does not equal bad.

Bad equals bad.

Some past practices in education work wonder for many of our students, but I still contend that no single practice, innovative or traditional, works for all of our students.

Traditional practice is not the enemy of innovation, and they are not an either/or proposition.  Bad practice, new or traditional, is the issue and always will be.

Phrase 2:

“We need to focus on what is best for students.”

This phrase might shock some people right away, but “students” are only part of your school community.  Simply replace the word “students” with “learners,” and it is much more encompassing.  Serving teachers and support staff are serving your students.

There is one caveat though.  The term “learners” insinuates all people that are willing to move forward and continuously grow, not just everyone.


Phrase 3:

“You should…”

I tweeted something the other day, and I saw a tweet that complained about it and said, “You should…”  Honestly, I never read the rest because I was lost immediately in the thought that someone I did not know telling me how I should do something.

I am guilty of this, and I am working to get better.

“You should…” could easily be replaced with, “Here is an example of something I do…”

Showing and modeling the way is much more effective than “telling.”  When I see someone that is successful through a process, I want to learn from what they did. When I’m told I am that something I do won’t work by someone who doesn’t fully understand the work that I do, and then outright told what I should do, you lose me.  I am sure I have lost people in the same process.

Model the way.


I appreciate Tony sharing his original post as it modeled a form of reflection for my development and encouraged me to dig deep into what work I do to help educators.  Growth is part of the process, and if we expect it from our students, we should I need to model this in my practice.

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Source: George Couros