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The Tyranny of Routine

The lazy man works twice as hard.  My mother told that to me, and now I say it to my kids.  If you’re writing an essay, keep it in the lines and in the margins so you don’t have to do it over.

Gary Oldman, Esquire Magazine, What I’ve Learned, December 16, 2011

Technology is not magic.  We can place it in the classroom, but without seamless integration into the curriculum, and innovative application, we might as well be using number 2 pencils.

When it comes to innovation, educational institutions are not very different from other organizations.   Change is hard and routine can often  be the enemy of progress.  This is true of education, whether it is at home or in the classroom.

Whether you are a parent like me, or a teacher, it is important for us to understand the dangers of routine.   Routine can choke innovation.

How can this happen?  Those who parent or teach can use routine for themselves, but fail to understand its impact on those they are attempting to educate.  For instance, we often use routines to keep ourselves from feeling out of control.

  1. Routine can keep us from being overwhelmed
  2. It helps us feel in control
  3. It helps us feel secure
  4. It protects and shelters us from the uncertainty of change
  5. It keeps things moving even though we are uninspired
  6. It allows us to reuse the old, rather than develop the new
  7. It limits how much we have to prepare

Routines tyrannize our lives.  We become dependent on them to keep our lives sane, and when innovation requires that we set them aside, we are unable to do it.  When this happens routine becomes destructive.

  1. Routine makes no breakthroughs
  2. It has no vision
  3. It sees no need for innovation
  4. It stifles creativity

Here is some questions I am asking myself.

  1. What routines are keeping me from making breakthroughs?
  2. What routines are keeping me from utilizing technology to help my children make breakthroughs?
  3. What routines are preventing my children’s teacher’s from making classroom breakthroughs?

These are just a few musings on routine.  They have been helpful to me, and I hope they are helpful to you.