Radical Alignment Can Help Schools Keep Kids Engaged on a Limited Budget

It’s “Back to School” time again. During this time of year, our attention turns to the education of the next generation of leaders, creators, and movers-and-shakers. We all know the education of our youth is of the utmost importance to society, but we are also aware of the limits on school budgets and resources. How can we optimally address these two competing forces and still get well educated and engaged children?

Radical Alignment is the perfect tool to do just that. By looking at all of the elements within an educational institution, such as staff, processes, space and culture, we can identify areas where they can be fine tuned to better achieve goals.

For instance, research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus, motivates them to practice high-level critical thinking and promotes meaningful learning experiences. If the goal, or Ideal State, is to increase student engagement, the first step is to identify a specific definition of what this objective means. The definition of student engagement is: the degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. Once we have a clear definition of our goal post, we must now figure out how to get there without spending a lot of money. Some prime areas of improvement for achieving this within a learning establishment is with processes and culture.

A great example of this is an educational non-profit that we worked with locally. The organization’s mission is to develop leaders in low-income neighborhoods because they believe that these future leaders will have a higher probability of affecting change within their communities as opposed to people coming in from the outside. This non-profit knows that creating leaders requires children to take ownership for themselves and others early on in life. So they look for every opportunity to involve the children in the operations and activities of the organization. They don’t spend time setting up events for the children, rather they let the children help organize and set-up the events themselves. This gives the kids a feeling of ownership of the processes of the organization and creates a culture of responsibility, collaboration, and strong work ethics. This illustration shows how affecting change in the processes and culture of an organization does not require any money, but it can make a huge difference in student engagement.

At Improve Group we have a great tool, the Alignment Inventory, that organizations can use to see if the attributes within their institution are aligned to their Ideal State. We start by inventorying the important elements of the organization. If the Ideal State is 100% student engagement, we assess which attributes are both actively and unintentionally misaligned to it. Once identified, we work with staff to figure out how to create alignment and take the necessary steps using a unified and coordinated effort to achieve student engagement. This way, instead of looking for more budget to reach their goal, they simply rewire the activities that they are already doing to support the goal of student engagement.

Whether you are a school, a non-profit or a multi-national, you too can find ways to achieve your goals without spending a dime. Get started today by downloading our Alignment Inventory  to identify misalignments and help you kick-start the process of finding a better way!

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