A “5 Whys” reflection on 2015

The 5 Whys questioning technique was developed by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production system as an iterative interrogative technique.  It is used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem to determine the root cause.”  I use this technique a lot and thought I would pass my 2015 learning year through it.

1. Why was 2015 a successful learning year?

I challenged myself to blog more prolifically, speak at more conferences and was in my second year as Director of ICT & eLearning so felt more comfortable with the complexities of my role.

2. Why did I challenge myself to blog and speak more?

I wanted to become more comfortable with my own voice and to give back to the PLN that is so generous to me.  Last year I wrote 13 posts for the year and this year I wanted at least to double that.  Then along came the #youredustory challenge and I have added 48 posts for the year to this blog.  For those looking to develop your voice and to connect with amazing educators, join in the #youredustory challenge.  Thank you Jo-Ann Fox (@AppEducationFox), Bjorn Paige (@BjornPaige) and the other #youredustory crew for helping me to develop a clearer voice.  As a result, I developed our school blog (www.ivanhoelearn.com) and shared our school story.  The highlight was not being the only voice to share this story as eight other staff (blogging newbies as well) joined in to share our story with the world.  A big shout out also must go to Aaron Davis (@mrkrndvs), Richard Olsen (@richardolsen), Jon Andrews (@Obi_Jon_), Matt Esterman (@mesterman), Corinne Campbell (@corisel), Nick Jackson (@largerama), Ian Guest (@ianinsheffield) and the rest of my PLN for commenting, sharing, challenging, enlightening and enhancing my 2015 learning journey, it is so appreciated.

3. Why did I need to become more comfortable with my own voice?

Like all learners, self doubt is a skin I live with from time to time and really felt that I needed to increase my reflection opportunities to let the dust settle on my thinking.  I tried a myriad of approaches this year.  I wrote with a time limit, wrote in one sitting, built a post over a week, over a month and this was all to try and angle in on what I truly believed.  Sometimes the thoughts would just flow and other times I felt like I was typing with my feet.  I have also found Voxer chats with Aaron and Corinne to be of tremendous value and a new medium to shake up my learning.

4. Why did I need to let the dust settle on my thinking?

I really wanted to see my thinking from different angles so I read opposing viewpoints from educators and really tried to connect with their rationale.  I do have to say that I have found the online world a little abrasive and divisive at times but a post by @debsnet really assisted with that.  She talked about balance and about challenging with compassion and respect.  This post was one of my faves for the year and is well worth a read and retweet.

5. Why did I need to connect with opposing viewpoints?

To remove myself from an echo chamber and open my eyes and ears to other possibilities.  I learnt so much this year from reading blogs by people who I don’t necessarily always agree with but it helped provide clarity and to open my mind.  I implore all educators to read opposing viewpoints, whether it be books, blogs, etc…


1. Why was 2015 not a successful learning year?

I took on too many things, projects, opportunities, etc…  Another case of breadth and not depth.

2. Why did I take on too many things?

It is a combination of wanting to be a part of everything and a reluctance to say no.  I really wanted to establish my role this year and I was successful but upon reflection there are a few areas that should have waited or required more attention.  Looking forward, my plan is be more discerning with what takes up my time.

3. Why am I reluctant to say no?

I think that I can get the job done even with a tight timeline.  I am ever the optimist but I need to bring the realist back into the mix in 2016.

4. Why do I think I can get the job done on a tight timeline?

I know I will work and work till I get it done.  I have always worked hard.  My parents are two of the hardest working people I know and I pride myself on doing the same.  With that said, I need to work more efficiently, not harder in 2016.

5. Why do I need to work harder to get the job done?

Because I didn’t say no in the first place and have put myself (and my family) under pressure.  This has long been the root cause of my workload.  More discernment required for 2016.

Thank you to all who read, commented, retweeted and supported my blog this year.  It is greatly appreciated.


3 thoughts on “A “5 Whys” reflection on 2015

Add yours

  1. Hi Steve, I’m honoured by the mention. Thank you. I really like this reflection. The 5 why’s is a great way to think over the year – I might try something similar. What you said about taking on too much resonates with me. I need to be more discerning as well. There are so many good opportunities at the moment, and I feel like a kid in a candy store, tempted to grab as much as I can, rather than focusing on one or two things that I will really appreciate.

    1. Thanks Corinne, the technique really does cut to the core. It has an honesty that really resonates. Taking on too much has always been my weakness. There is just so much to be excited by and I do get caught up in the candy store. Thank you for your insight and reflections this year, especially on Voxer and best of luck for your new challenge. You will be amazing.

  2. Hi Steve
    Good sharing! Saw your blog off Twitter.
    Interesting info off what you wrote in this post about echo chamber and earlier about pedagogy and about learners’ outcomes. Will be keen to exchange more, let me know if you’re open!

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