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Tool: Associating new initiatives with familiar patterns

“Research activities on the relationship of aging to learning during the past 20 years have found that there are two brands or categories of intelligence, one which increases during adulthood, while the other decreases.” Havighurst (1980, p. 6). The kind of intelligence that increases is called crystallized; it seems to be influenced by education and experience. 

One implication for you and the teachers with whom you work is if new initiatives can be linked to past experiences, understanding and implementation will be accelerated.

Purpose of this tool: Trigger your thoughts about the initiative as it connects to past experience. Ask yourself questions such as, "What associations can I make?" and "How can I help others relate past experiences to what we are proposing?”

How to use this tool: Respond to questions below with Yes or No. If Yes, force yourself to identify an example. If No, stop until you have developed and implemented strategies that will result in a positive response.

Ask yourself: 

  1. Am I familiar with the history of the initiative I am promoting?
  2. Have I personally engaged in a related practice in the past? If so, what did that look like?  Feel like? Would beginning teachers have experienced it in their student teaching or internship? As K-12 students?
  3. Have I orchestrated conversations about the effectiveness of what exists now? What seems not to be working and needs to be modified or abandoned? What should be maintained? (Legitimation)
  4. Have I orchestrated conversations about our vision and expectations for the proposed change?
  5. How does the new or modified initiative fit with our values; and, if disconnects exist, how do we accommodate them?