A Coach with the Heart of an English Teacher

WoodenJohn Wooden began his career in education as a small-town high school English teacher… and went on to become a legendary college basketball coach with an incredible winning record. HOWEVER…a recent biographer noted that Wooden’s approach to coaching never focused on winning. His approach was to always emphasize the process of preparation and practice. He often won with teams that lacked attributes thought to be essential to winning – height and great athletic skills.

Teacher David Perrin compares the Wooden approach to our nation’s drive to use ‘test scores’ as the means to improve students’ academic performance.

“…a one-size-fits-all conception of potential, such as that promoted by standardized tests, fails to account for the varied ways that students can succeed…. Wooden never mentioned the word ‘win’ to his players. His whole attitude was if you maximize your potential, then you have succeeded. In other words, the product was far less important than the process.”

Perrin concludes his very interesting column with this:

“The processes of teaching and learning can be messy and nebulous — if not impossible — to quantify. They are also unglamorous; they will never grab headlines the way that national sports championships, or eve educational test results, do. As long as politicians and society insist on reducing “success” in education to the product of test scores, dedicated teachers, like Coach John Wooden, will have to block out the noise of ‘winning’, so that they can focus on the quiet yet vital processes of teaching and learning, regardless of what the scoreboard reads”

Read it here:  http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/02/25/a-coach-with-the-heart-of-an.html

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