One of the great sessions I attended at #ASCD13 was on sustainable change led by the great Eric Sheninger, or else known as @NMHS_Principal. Eric was a phenomenal speaker and I took copious notes in his session (that includes many audience responses) as follows:
Why Change? We need to, because the world has changed, it is fundamentally different, we are in a globally connected world. How can we say we are preparing our kids to be successful to do what they want to do if we don’t allow them to use the tools that eveyrone else uses to be successful?
Why doesn’t change work?
It is done to people, no buy-in, don’t support the rpocess, always changing from one thing to the next, we give up before the learning curve is experienced, overwelmed by number of things to change.
Why has it failed in your school?
It goes against tradition, people are not given a chance to fail or take risks
Why is change so hard? People are so comfortable bc they are not challenged to think differently. Status quo, if it isn’t broke why fixt it, this too shall pass.
Why is change so hard?
Fear, void of leadership, no vision, lack of knowledge
Why is change so hard?
Instability, too many initiatives at once, resistance, one size fits all initiatives.
It’s difficult to transition a school or district if it doesn’t make sense.
It’s important to identify the obstacles
1. This is too hard
Change is not easy. Requires work, risk-taking, learnign from mistakes, and committemtn, no fear of failure. “The price of change is measured by our will and courage, our persistence, in the face of difficulty.” -Peter Block
2. I don’t have time for this
-most common excuse
-in a profession focused on making a difference in the life of a child. “I don’t find the time to learn and get better. I make the time to learn and get better.”
3. Lack of Collaboration
We already know who on our staff don’t want to collaborate. How do we get them to intrinsically want to change, becuase they might be better for kids. We can’t go to a one-size fits all approach.
4. Directives and Mandates
“You can’t force committemnt, what you can do….You nudge a little here, insprie a little there, and provide a role model. Your primary influence is the environment you create” -Peter Senge
5. Hierarchy in Schools
Result-inflexible, lack of freedom/autonomy to take risks, ideas are squashed
6. No Support
Time, resources, money, pd, etc.
7. Fear of change
How do we as colleagues, administrators help each other overcome fear and get others to want to change?
8. The Resistance (Naysayers and antagonists)
9. Poor professional development
10. Frivolous purchases
It is the beahviors/practices that make the purchases relevant and applicable.
“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal; you do not change your decision to get there.” Zig Zigler
Change begins with us. “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” ~Gandhi
If you are doing something because you got a grant, can it be sustained? If not, then why are you doing it?
Change often fails if there’s not shared vision, or communication of the vision.
“Let the teachers decide what they need to get better.” @NMHS_Principal
The Sustainable Changes that have been made at Eric’s School:
grading (7 criteria to fail kids)
teaching and learning web2.0
independet open courseware study
professional growth period