We are living in tumultuous
and historic times. With the outbreak of war, Education Update
decided to look at military education, offered in military
run schools both on the high school and college level or subcontracted
by the military in regular schools.
Boost Achievement Levels in Schools!
Here’s a startling finding
from various studies and reports about education: students
in military-run schools regularly outperform their private
school and public school peers. Their students score almost
60 percent higher than the national average in reading. Military
schools boast an astonishing 97 percent high school graduation
Yet a higher percentage of their
students are black and Hispanic, half live at the poverty
line, and they have a 35 percent annual mobility rate. Additionally,
their parents have less education and higher rates of alcoholism
and domestic abuse than private school kids. This seems to
fly in the face of everything that’s
commonly thought to lead to student success. How do you explain
it? Consider this three-part explanation.
Children who grow up with permissive,
overindulgent parents lack accountability. A military culture,
however, is culture of accountability. Everyone is taught
to face mistakes without fearing blame or repercussions,
and to view missteps as learning opportunities. As a result,
behaviors and bad habits such as passing the buck are unlearned
or never learned at all. Accountability is one of three environmental
factors I’ve identified
that all successful organizations have in common. The other
two are high expectations and feedback.
High expectations also run through
the military. A strong sense of confidence prevails. It’s that “can do!” mindset
that can overcome the fear, uncertainty, or doubt present in
so many situations.
When a leader—in business, education, parenting, coaching,
or military—creates a belief in someone that they can
succeed, they usually
do. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think
you can’t, you’re probably right.” That statement
should be posted on the wall in every school in the country.
Feedback? You can’t learn
without feedback. If you get feedback once a year, you can
only learn once a year. Get feedback once a month and you
can learn once a month. Get it once a week and you can learn
once a week. The more frequently you get feedback, the more
rapidly you can learn.
The military thrives on feedback. I remember feedback from
commanding officers that was quite explicit. You probably do,
too. Children likewise need feedback. Different style. Different
content. More supportive in nature. But feedback all the same.
How do you boost feedback levels
with a student (or anyone else)? Well, who’s always
with a student? The student. 24/7. If someone knows what
he or she is accountable for, they can give themselves their
own feedback. Every day, all the time. Then their learning
takes a quantum leap. Feedback from others still plays a
role, but self-feedback accelerates learning.
DOD-run schools, not surprisingly,
have all three factors working in their favor—accountability, high expectations,
and feedback. Moreover, these factors create a close working
relationship between parents and schools—much closer
than exists in many public or private schools. Everyone is
singing from the same sheet of music.
Want to boost achievement levels in schools? Three messages
for educators and parents regarding the kids: hold them accountable,
believe in them, and provide supportive feedback.#