Brand Marketing and Dream Schools

January 28, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in 21st Century, Collaboration, Planning, Podcasts, Shift | 3 Comments
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Recently on Twitter, a few of us were tweeting on the idea that we should create a dream school,
“@jplaman Our dream school begins w/@intrepidteacher, @nancyvonw, @murcha, @tgalvez, @frznguru, @amichetti, @rhondacarrier Now we need $$! Jan 13th”(message from @mscofino)

As an elementary teacher and now as EdTech Specialist, I’ve always felt things can be done better, in the manner that my self and life can be “done better”- there’s always room for improvement. And this morning I was listening to a podcast of NPR’s This American Life: Numbers, Episode 88- in particular, Act Four “Will Powers-his real name-decided to try to use all the tools of modern brand marketing to sell himself to his own wife. It turned out to help their marriage.”

The story is about principles of brand loyalty and how to achieve it. Will is asked by his boss to do an exercise where he markets himself to someone he knows personally using all the principles of brand marketing. He chose his wife and asked her to come up with a list of attributes of a good husband. Then he asked her about the attributes, asking her how he can show and follow through on those attributes. She gave examples and then he did a “brand ladder” where questions asked of customers reveal the basic desires and feelings they gain from a basic, external quality.

While listening to this story I thought, this is where we can start to envision more effective, relevant schools; by asking students what conditions and events are in place when they are learning happily and effectively. I realize that randomly asking a list of questions would most likely not work, but rather starting (or continuing) to reflect more with our class, groups, individual students would yield some responses from students, particularly when an activity, project, lesson goes well. For example, Laura has been trying to understand place value for awhile and one day the light bulb illuminates- that would be the time to reflect personally as an observer and also ask Laura, What was the tipping point just now, what opened the door?

When I was in the classroom I often reflected with students at the end of a unit or when an activity went very well or poorly. The problem is that with schedules and curricular pressures this reflection was often placed down on the list of things to do. So I plan to start prioritizing reflection with students whenever possible. I also plan to start asking myself, as an educator and learner, what conditions and process help me learn and help me teach effectively?

To @jplaman, @intrepidteacher, @mscofino, @murcha, @tgalvez, @frznguru, @amichetti, @rhondacarrier … I also think we need to solidify this group and set up a place to share our ideas and revelations!



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  1. Hi there,
    Thanks for posting this reminder about how important it is for teachers to reflect, and how important it is for students to reflect. It is an integral and important part of the learning process, no matter what you’re learning. We do often forget to ask our students questions like these often enough. This is one of the reasons, though, that I love working in MYP schools – the MYP is inherently reflective and requires its students and teachers to be this way, too. Reflecting will indeed help us create that “dream school” but it is also the most meaningful way for us all to become the best learners possible. Reflection really *should* be a part of every stage of every process.

  2. I love the idea of branding – I think it’s definitely only going to become more and more important – even to the level of personal “branding” though an online profile.

    I would love to see how we can develop this idea further – even if it is just to see what are the criteria in place when learning is efficient, successful and engaging. It would be really interesting to do this in all of our different schools and then see where they all align…

    What about a wiki?

  3. Yes, the creation of an actual dream school would require a boatload of coin- but it is worth cheering for and sharing the moves in that direction that we find in our daily reality. A wiki that provides space for sharing successful experiences is a great idea. One page for that wiki can be prioritizing and making time for this type of reflection and sharing! 🙂

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