In education we tend to focus on answering the hows first – how do we spend the money, how should teachers plan their lessons, how do children learn, how should a school be set up, how do we design the best resources...
Although ‘how’ is important, it is secondary to the most important question of all, ‘WHY?’ If we are not clear in our vision, then we are simply providing an array of solutions without purpose. For example, let’s take the question of how teachers should plan their lessons. You can find a large assortment of ready-made planning templates on the Internet to assist teachers in ‘how’ to plan their lessons. Any one of these planning templates can easily be chosen and used by a school, but without being clear on ‘why’ the planners were chosen and how they help to implement the school’s vision, the inevitable question in the future will be: ‘Why didn’t they work?’ Maybe we should try a different approach. This issue stems from our not knowing the ‘WHY’, or the end goal that should be the basis of our decision-making. What is the vision for the school and the students? We need to have well-defined goals and a clear vision so we can design a framework that represents both. The how-tos always follow organically, and we can best achieve our educational objectives and visions if we begin by answering the question, ‘WHY?’