When Knowing Meets Understanding


I was recently reading a book about customer service at Disney. In the book, the author describes the concept of Guestology, what Disney defines as the science of knowing and understanding their guests.

In education, we often talk about how important it is to know your students. In knowing your students, learning about their strengths and needs, you can individualize learning for students.

However, the piece that is often missing in education, which Disney does so well with its guests is the understanding part. Gathering demographics on guests (the knowing) helps Disney, but using that information to predict guest behavior (the understanding) is the crucial part that Disney gets right in order to make their company a top notch organization.

Yes, it is important to know our students, but it is more important to use that knowledge to understand our students. Learning about our students: their strengths, their needs, their passions, what drives them, and even what makes them cringe can lead us to truly personalize learning for our students.

The first step is knowing everything we can about our students. After that initial discovery of knowledge, we must learn how that knowledge applies to our students, how it impacts their decision making, what influences their choices, and why they behave in certain ways.

Only after understanding our students can we truly impact each of them individually, on a deeply personal level. Teachers who make connections with their students are able to know students deeply and understand what they need in terms of support.

Remember that knowing your students is important, but it is when that knowing meets understanding, that you can truly impact students personally in a positive way.





Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service. Disney Institute with Theodore Kinni.
The Art of War Visualized. Jessica Hagy

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