Empowering Students to Lead Change by Christine Simpson and Sarah Ambrus

Guest post by John Hunter, who founded curiouscat.com in 1996.

The video shows the presentation by Christine Simpson and Sarah Ambrus at the 2015 Deming research seminar: Empowering Students to Lead Change. They gave a similar, and a bit longer, presentation at the 2015 Deming in Education conference on Student Led Change.

YouTube video

Quoting a student:

Would you ask a dentist to fix your car.

Students at the school are taught critical thinking skills while learning to apply quality tools to improve the system of education in Leander schools. That creates a culture where thinking systemically is natural (for not just teachers but students as well).

Participating in such a system leads to understanding that results come from a system and if we wish to improve results we need to focus on how the system needs to be improved rather than looking for who to blame. It isn’t effective to blame the dentist you brought your car to for not doing a great job fixing your car. This same culture is one every organization should encourage.

Start somewhere. Start somewhere with continuos improvement. Start somewhere… It is ok if you don’t have everybody on board, your acts and your progress will take on a life of its own and you will gain supporters and you will transform your school. It will happen.

To encourage the adoption of a philosophy like Deming’s look for projects that would be good candidates for visible success. Start somewhere and then build on your successful improvements. Providing education and assistance on how to use quality tools is a critical aspect of creating a fertile system for developing a continual improvement culture.

Another quote from a student shared in their presentation

We encourage students to step up and talk for themselves not just reiterate what is told to us. With this encouragement we give everyone a chance to have a voice.

In the presentation they mention their book, Riding Shotgun: Empowering Students To Lead Change. “Profoundly inspired by students’ efforts for change on their own campus, Ambrus and Simpson offer collaborative models, practical tools, and firsthand accounts from students, parents, and teachers. Riding Shotgun illustrates what is possible when students are given the tools and support to lead school wide change.”

Related: A Powerful Tool: The Capacity MatrixWhy Do People Fail to Adopt Better Management Methods?Using Deming’s Ideas When Your Organization Doesn’t (Yet)

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