Who Cares? – Why Deming and Quality in Education

How do we get students to care?

To be engaged?

How do we move from apathy to passion?

These questions have many answers, but to affect real, lasting change structural and philosophical changes need to be made in the classroom. Ideas are detailed below in the embedded videos and notes taken at the Deming Institute in Seattle in November of 2015.

Deming on Grades and Performance


Notes from The Deming Institute
Seattle Nov. 6-8, 2015

David P. Langford, senior education facilitator and Advisory Board member for The Deming Institute and CEO of Langford International, Inc, set the stage for understanding the foundation of the Deming approach applied in education. He explained the methodology and show documentation of how Deming theory is affecting all levels of learning worldwide.

Working directly with Dr. Deming before he died in 1993, Mr. Langford developed a powerful understanding of how to put into action processes which are inspiring innovative and visionary world-class learning in classrooms, schools, districts and universities.

The notes below were taken by Scott Le Duc at the conference.

Mr. Le Duc also posted images and comments at Twitter #Deming2015

Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle Nov. 6-8

  • Resources
  • Day 1
    • 8:15 – Early Morning Session
      • Kevin Cahill
      • David Langford – Why Deming in Education
        • 0:13 Video of Mt. Edgecumbe High School
        • 11:05 Deming’s 3 principles he always started with
          1. Have fun
          2. Learning something
          3. Make a difference
        • 13:00 Quality is about transformation of the individual
          • Don’t just get rid of the bad ones
          • He told the story of his school
          • When you get a hammer, everything looks like a nail
          • Attended Deming seminars
          • Deming: People have a right to joy in their work
            • Students have a right to joy in their learning
          • Deming: Move from extrinsic motivations to intrinsic
        • 25:58 EXERCISE: Trace hand on a piece of paper – PROFOUND LEARNING
          • One needs to have profound knowledge before they make real change
        • profound_learning
          • 27:40 System
            • What system are we working within?
            • Do they empower or neutralize power?
            • Seldom do we ask what is wrong with this system that is producing poor results? – Change it!
            • In the name of trying to make things better, often make it worse – don’t create games for kids to play in a system
          • 28:57 Theory
            • What is your theory of education?
            • Many people don’t have a clear theory
            • Many theories based on unfounded ideas
            • “Bonus” thinking narrows: What do I need to do to get an “A”?
            • Dr. Deming said most people don’t know what their job is
            • STORY: Tardy Czar at Texas high school
            • STORY: Where do we get numbers for tardies, consequences, etc. – Deming answered:  séances (Joke: Langford called them board meetings)
            • What is the grading scale based upon? Is it a game? Play the game or else
            • Langford’s son’s rationale that he could go skiing 9 times during a semester
          • 37:40 Variation
            • What does data driven mean?
            • What is the data telling you?
            • What are going to do with it?
            • Where is it coming from?
            • Do we understand the variability within the data?
            • What’s the average performance?
            • JOKE: Many teachers have taken a vow of statistical abstinence
            • JOKE: Teacher says, ‘I don’t do numbers.”
          • 39:32 Psychology
            • Do we really understand the psychological effects of our policies?
              • Tardy policies – 3 absences allowed – why?
            • Why are we learning this?
              • If we say to pass the test, it’s not learning, it’s the game of school
            • Fundamental attribution error
              • attributing a fault or defect to the individual without first understanding what is going on systemically
            • Easy to blame the students for being unmotivated and failure
            • There really isn’t extrinsic motivation, it’s extrinsic activation
              • An individual can be activated is the punishment or reward is string enough
              • As soon as the activation is taken away the behavior goes right back where it as before
            • Humans are born with about 100 billion neurons
            • Brain will only make neural connections for survival
              • Cramming for the test is short-term survival
          • 44:22 Brain Research
            • Neural science and Deming video (4:25) – JW Wilson
            • JW Wilson presents activating the learning code in the video toward the bottom of this blog post
            • Where are the students going after they leave school?
            • We want students who will add value to society
            • When Langford start at Mt. Edgecombe only 2% of students who graduated finished college
            • When he left the school they were up to 60% and recently he said they were to 80%
            • Developing student capacity to be successful is the goal
            • Some universities have freshmen dropout rates as high as 60-70%
              • Students don’t know how to think, plan, change situations, or adapt to the current situation
          • Sample Hand at Instagram
            • I drew mine backwards, systems should be on the thumb
        • 50:26 EXERCISE: Trace other hand – INTRINSIC MOTIVATION
          • How do you change the extrinsic motivation into intrinsic motivation so people want to do the work?
        • intrinsic_learning
          • 51:15 Naval Academy story – because it will be on the test
          • 53:59 EXERCISE: Try to move the person next to you with one finger
            • Doesn’t work
            • Take all fingers and make a fist
              • Now you can make someone move
              • This is what happens in systems
                • If you change only one thing (one finger) it’s hard to make change, but with the all parts (fist) you can make change
          • 55:34 Control / Autonomy
            • Teachers can be control freaks
            • Langford was a band teachers
            • Drive out fear
              • No public humiliation
              • Fear is extrinsic motivation
            • Most asked questions: All student questions come to
              1. What are we doing?
              2. How are we doing it?
              3. Why are we doing?
            • Deming way is to think, how can I run the class so kids don’t have to ask these questions
            • Ungrateful (Students/Teachers) Syndrome
            • Stop planning FOR people and start planning WITH them
            • Takes, at a minimum, 19 days to break a neural network pattern, habit
            • Whole lot more fun to plan WITH people not FOR them
              • Shift the workload to everyone, not just you
          • 1:03:36 Cooperation
            • Ask the question: Do we need other people to get results?
            • We need other people to get results
            • Cooperation is build in the human genome
            • If you want to see people get much more intrinsically motivated, change the cooperation level
            • QUESTION: Do you actually need other people to reach your result?
            • Traditionally in education we isolate students
            • Deming said if you want to achieve at a much higher level, teach people to cooperate at a much higher level
            • Took Michael Jordan 5 to 6 years to realize that he was on a team
            • Mt. Edgecombe did integrated projects across departments that had long term results
            • Robot basketball doubled student interest in the program, STEM before STEM
            • Early Internet messaging to help each other
            • Special needs student learned to advocate for himself and ask for help
          • 1:09:39 Support
            • STORY: Employee of the month story
              • Don’t have student / employee of the month
              • Outcome: 1 winner and 999 losers
            • Help kids master work
              • Support attends/failure
              • Otherwise students give up
            • Want them to try and be rewarded for trying by helping to get better
            • QUESTION: Do we have some method for communicating how students are doing?
            • 5 – 10% of kids getting good grades are the ones motivated by grades
              • 90% it is not a motivator
            • Kids de-motivate by saying, ‘what do I need to do to get a “C”
              • They may love sports / music / arts and want to work in their gifted area so get grades so they can keep doing what they love
            • Stop working with words like DEADLINES – has the word DEAD in it
            • Turn deadlines into TARGET DATES
              • What happens if you don’t meet the target date – YOU GET… HELP! 🙂
                • Relentless Help!
            • Understand the neural science – time is the only variable to success
              • Some need more time
          • 1:17:19 Meaning
            • Is it meaningful?
            • If it’s not meaningful, people don’t care
            • If you understand the student’s MEANING NETWORK, you can tie a lot to it
            • EXAMPLE: 4 ft 9in passionate basketball player – can tie statistics and other sophisticated math
            • Why are we doing this / learning this?
            • EXAMPLE: Naval Academy cheating scandal
              • What would cause 165 students to cheat?
              • Not defective people, it’s a defective system
              • Students ranked 1 to 1000
              • Rank results in the quality of the post school assignment
            • EXAMPLE: Retirement center writing project each year
              • High level of meaning for the community, people, students
            • Need to connect with student interest for them to find meaning
          • 1:21:44 Challenge
            • Is the work challenging?
            • Set too high or low and it demotivates
            • Teacher should be teaching student how manage their own pace and challenge as they go
              • It’s the students challenge to meet the target date
              • It’s the students challenge to meet the high level of standards
              • The student is going through that
            • Teach students to use Gantt chartsflow charts, and other processes and ways to manage the work load, portfolio assessments, etc.
            • Teacher is going to help the student manage this
            • The whole time students are in a highly cooperative environment, too for more support
            • AND the student is going to have control over the process
          • Sample Hand at Flickr
        • VIDEO: Deming talking about motivation
        • VIDEO: Key & Peele – TeachingCenter
    • Break 10:10 – 15
    • 10:25 – Late Morning Session
    • Lunch 11:45 – 1:00
    • 1:00 Early Afternoon
    • Break 3:15-3:30
    • 3:30 – Late Afternoon

Building a Quality CTE System (HINT: Focus on Verbs!)

  1. Identify Standards
  2. Group Concepts
    • Batch together complimentary skills
  3. Build Units by Verbs
  4. Sequence Units
    • What skills sequence well for building a diverse skill base for problem solving and creating?
  5. Decide on Outcomes
  6. Establish Quality – Skills Checklists
  7. Establish Quality – Rubrics
  8. Apply Quality
    • Decide what rubrics to use for each unit
      • Be careful to only assess the quality that is directly related to your standards
      • Less is more
  9. Construct Project Feedback Process
  10. Establish Portfolios

Final Thoughts