Improve Teaching with “Positive Deviance”!
What if the solution for improving student outcomes in your school or district was right under your nose?
Learn how you can use Positive Deviance Inquiry to identify and spread effective teaching methods throughout your organization. Find out what's inside >
In every group of teachers, there are always a few who have exceptional results. You know who they are: those amazing educators who achieve outstanding outcomes for their students. But have you identified exactly what makes them so successful? And have you shared their teaching methods with others? These “positive deviants” present an incredible opportunity for achieving sustainable change in your school or district.
For example, the students of a 3rd grade teacher in Brazosport, Texas managed to achieve remarkably high scores on the statewide test, despite the fact that 94% them lived in poverty and most of their peers performed poorly. District leaders documented what this teacher was doing in her classroom, refined her practices, and gradually got other teachers to adopt them. Over seven years, Brazosport saw a surge in student achievement that virtually closed the racial and economic achievement gap throughout the district.
Positive Deviance inquiry helps you identify teachers who have solved problems that others, with access to the same resources, have not been able to solve. Their outcomes are successful (positive), but uncommon (they deviate from the norm).
As the Positive Deviance Institute explains, it’s “an asset-based, problem-solving, and community-driven approach that enables the community to discover these successful behaviors and strategies and develop a plan of action to promote their adoption by all concerned“.
This guide includes:
“The task of the leader is not to tell teachers what (best practices) are but to create opportunities for educators to discover them for themselves. ... Effective leaders give teams of experienced teachers — the building leaders — time to visit successful schools and to discuss what they’ve learned with colleagues. Teachers need to see models of much more successful classrooms in order to believe that all students can succeed.”
Education expert Toni Wagner