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Dropping a Bad Habit

I got out of my car at the shops this week and walked toward the supermarket. Then I stopped and actually walked a few steps back to my vehicle … because I’d forgotten my mask.

Yeah … I did that.

When I thought a little about how this happened, I realised two things:

  1. When you introduce a new habit, it can be really hard to shake, even many months after the last time I actually deployed that habit. I guess that’s why reformed smokers occasionally struggle to resist the urge even years after they’ve quit.
  2. That it’s the repetition of a habit that entrenches it. Early on in the Covid affected days, it was hard to remember my mask. But I got past that and found myself remembering it, without any effort. Yes, even when I no longer needed to.

It’s the exact same phenomenon when it comes to practicing differently in the classroom. Whether using new language, new responses to behavioural challenges, new classroom architecture or new pedagogical thinking, we first need to make the effort to change.

The second thing to do is continue with the effort, regardless of results, until the effort drops out and habit takes over.

My final reminder is to notice when dark habits from your past re-emerge. When we get busy, distracted, or frustrated we need to be particularly on guard against old, unnecessary habits.

I don’t need to wear my mask at the Dromana IGA these days any more than you need the darker teaching practices of your past just because you once habitualised them.

Keep fighting that good fight,


P.S. A reminder that applications close on 11 September for the Schools Plus Partnership Funding Opportunities. In case you missed it, I’ve produced a video to help you learn more about it and how our three-year School Culture Partnership could be a good choice for schools looking to make the most of this funding. Eligible schools with an ICSEA value below 1000 can apply. Need help? To book a meeting with me, click here.


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