Education Opinion


By LeaderTalk Contributor — April 28, 2009 1 min read
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Barack Obama has gone from Reaganomics, which has ruled the US economic policy for the last 30 years, to behavioral economics, which is shaping our current economic situation. Authors Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein address this contemporary idea in Nudge (2009) and illustrate how gentle “nudging” can influence humans to make better life choices. Humans are creatures of habit by nature, however, as Thaler and Cass exemplify through several scenarios in their book, habits can be broken by a slight nudge in the right direction.

Educational leaders are constantly searching for innovative ways to involve their faculty and staff in lifelong learning opportunities. Change, which is often a daunting word in the field of education, can be seen as less intimidating through “nudging” when done properly.
This could be from learning new technologies, to working on their pedagogy, to continuing to look at the data that is now available to them. So what is the “nudge” that we, educational leaders need to get these things done?

I propose that the “nudge” we need is collaboration. Collaboration as defined as not only as collaboration between teachers but also between admins and teachers. True collaboration means that there is a listening on both sides of the equation so that the best learning environment can be developed by both staff members and educational leaders. You need to create a climate of openness and respect so that everyone feels like they have a voice in the development of the curriculum and the child. Teachers are professionals and need to treated as such by the educational leaders.

If we can accomplish this “nudge”, I believe education will definitely experience significant change for the better.

James Yap

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.