How changing just one belief can help create schools in which everyone thrives

Dennis Sparks

You haven’t taught it until they’ve learned it.” – John Wooden

It seems like such a simple idea – that the teaching isn’t over until students have learned it.

And yet decade after decade we continue to hear some variation of the phrase, “I taught it, but they didn’t learn it.”

The professional development version of that statement is: “We inserviced them, but nothing’s changed.”

So, let me officially declare with the full weight and authority bestowed by a WordPress blog that:

Teaching isn’t over until the students have learned it, and

Professional learning hasn’t occurred until educators have changed their hearts, minds, and/or practices in ways that support the success of all students. 

Or, put another way, professional learning hasn’t occurred until all teachers and administrators believe what they haven’t believed, understand what they haven’t understood, say what they haven’t said, and do what they haven’t done, all with the intention of high levels of learning for all students in all classrooms.

Changing just that one belief will go a long way toward creating schools in which all young people and adults thrive and in which teaching, learning, and relationships are continuously improving.

2 Responses to “How changing just one belief can help create schools in which everyone thrives”


  1. 1 Wanda Dean May 21, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Laughed aloud at your blog this AM.

    My father was an agriculture teacher, sheriff and tax collector, then school administrator. All my life he said, “Unless something is learned, nothing is taught.” Being a typical kid I rolled my eyes and did not really listen. It was not until a few years ago that I really, really understood what he was saying. Now I quote him frequently and will quote him when I do PD in the MS delta in a couple of days.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    • 2 Dennis Sparks May 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      I am pleased, Wanda, to have prompted such a wise and warm memory of your father. Thanks for sharing it.


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