a cover photo stating episode 200 of the special education inner circle podcast knowledge vs wisdom in orange and yellow bold words with the Master IEP Coach® logo

Knowledge vs Wisdom at the IEP Table


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Welcome to another episode of the Special Education Inner Circle podcast. I'm thrilled to tackle the topic today of "Knowledge versus Wisdom at the IEP Table." So, let's huddle up and have a quick chat about this!

Inside our Master IEP Coach® retreats, we hash out this subject a lot. How do we evolve from just being knowledgeable to being wise leaders in the world of special education? Let's break it down!

At the start of the journey, many of us are all about leading with knowledge. We know the laws, rules, and technical bits of special education inside and out. We're like the technical wizards, knowing every procedure, guideline, and form in the book. But now, let's switch gears a bit...

Imagine taking it up a notch and leading with wisdom. Think of it as going from being a textbook to being a storyteller. It's about diving into the unique needs and aspirations of the child, viewing things from their perspective. And it doesn't stop there—you're adding your experience, layering in the emotional and relational elements that truly matter.

And here's where the real mindset shift starts to take action: wisdom doesn't mean overcomplicating things. It's about doing what truly counts. It's about crafting an IEP that's not just about checking boxes but creating an actual experience. Take the concept of inclusion, for instance. It's not just about sitting together—it's about crafting an environment where everyone belongs. Because when our schools are inclusive, we're building inclusive communities for the future.

But here's the twist: wisdom is a team effort. It's about building connections, understanding each other, and working as a unit before the IEP meeting even begins. It's about transparent communication, making choices that genuinely serve the child, and not just following a legal script.

Wisdom helps us work together to build the best IEP. Now, you might be wondering, "But Catherine, doesn't the law say 'appropriate,' not 'best' education?" You're spot on! But wisdom nudges us to look beyond the basics. It's about blending everything you've learned with your gut instincts, bridging the gap between your role as a parent and a teacher. When these pieces align, you've got yourself an IEP that truly can be the best for a child.

So, here's my challenge for you: Absolutely, soak up all that knowledge, and understand the laws like the back of your hand. But let's take it further. Blend that knowledge with your real-world experiences, and transform into a leader with wisdom. Shift your focus from mere compliance to crafting exceptional programs that maximize each child's journey in special education.

Before I wrap up this conversation can I ask for a little favor? If this chat resonates with you, share the love! Pass this podcast and blog on to a colleague, tag a teacher friend, or send it over to fellow parents. We're all working together to change special education, and simply sharing this post can help!

Author: Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed - Master IEP Coach®, Founder

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