Adapt, Don’t Adopt

Sad Puppy Face

As teachers, we are often encouraged to “beg, borrow, and steal” ideas from others so that we don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” or “start from scratch” (and we are overly fond of hackneyed cliches as well).  However well-intentioned, it isn’t necessarily the best advice.

When we adopt someone else’s idea, lesson, or practice, we have no ownership over that material.  And, by ownership, I’m not just talking about intellectual property.  When we create or design a lesson or activity, we have a stake in how it goes, so we are invested in it and want it to go well.  If we just use what someone else has created, there’s no investment, no tie, no sense of caring about whether it works or it doesn’t.

I learned this strategy over summer while prepping for my Introduction to the Teaching Profession course, is called “adapt, don’t adopt”  from The First Days of School:  How to Be an Effective Teacher by Harry Wong.  This ties in well with one of CAPE’s recent questions in the survey  available after every workshop – I will be able to adapt the information/materials provided to meet my needs.  Our intent is that the information we provide to you through our blog and/or workshops is adaptable to your content area or specialty in some way.

I would like to open up this space periodically to highlight a guest blogger and allow you to share what you have learned at any professional development event.  Ideally, as you share what you learned, you will also share how you were able to adapt that information to meet the needs of your discipline, genre or area.  Each featured guest blogger will also be the winner of an awesome CAPE prize!


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