It's time to chase Innovation instead of reacting to the status quo.
Change is Hard. If we think about our classrooms and trying to bring different ideas into the classroom it can be hard. Hard because it means you might fail. Hard because you might not have the admin support (thankfully we have great support). Hard because it might mean a little more energy and a little less content on the schedule.
In this session we were able to explore the process of change, reflecting on best practices in bringing change, introducing innovation and providing a path to go down.
There was a great deal of information that came from this workshop, but I wanted to share some summaries.
The speaker's name is Andrew McCarthy and his resources from this workshop is here: http://bit.ly/21Change
In order to understand how change is hard, we needed to experience some moments when change didn’t work. The speaker shared about the LA County iPad roll-out scandal. In theory it was a great idea--give every student in LA County an iPad to learn with. In practice, the project failed. You can read more about it here.
The speaker than introduced Kotter’s Eight Step Model of change. Thinking through this on the business side. The research takes us through the process of creating urgency for a change all the way through the final step of making the change stick. It was an interesting concept to place onto a school environment, especially in thinking about the changes our school has gone through the past 5 years.
Next McCarthy introduced us to concepts that he learned from the book Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. The central idea behind the book is taking a leader through the process of bringing change into an organization. Below is a summary of McCarthy’s interpretations and thoughts.
Big Idea #1: Find the Bright Spots
The initial question of this part was “why do we focus so much on a failing grade on a report card and not what is working within the class the student gets an A?”
Basically, we need to be using our time and energy to focus on the bright spots, research them and then replicate them in the dark areas of our school. For example, teachers who are successfully enhancing student’s learning with the integration of technology could be considered bright spots. From a tech coach’s perspective it would make sense to continue working with the teachers that are not at the same level as the “techie” teachers. However, if energy is focused on the why and how of the techie teachers and then replicated with those who are not so techie, change could move in a forward direction easier than without.
Big Idea #2: Script the Critical Moves
When bringing change into the classroom, change must be specific. Exactly like teachers delivering objectives for each lesson, change needs to have specific objectives of why? How? When? And who? (Thing SMART objectives but for teachers). From a tech coach’s perspective this could be specific practices of technology integration into the classroom. One example was, “ Use Google Docs to feedback and Comment on student work and encourage revision”. Specific. Simple. Focused. Easy for all teachers to read and apply this objective.
Big Idea #3: Point to a Destination
“Let me show you the future”
“Let me show you what your classroom could look like with _______”
Define your destination.
UWCSEA Learning principals--Defining the goals of learning within the school https://www.uwcsea.edu.sg/about/guiding-statements/uwcsea-learning-profile
NESTA Decoding learning: The proof promise and potential
Big Idea #4: Grow your Teachers
Big Idea #5: Shaping the Path
Remove the barriers for teachers--provide the training and objectives that they can achieve.
Be specific and focus training on specific tools and strategies, build confidence.
(lms, google classroom, schoology, seesaw etc)
Build the Habits and document them-- Remind teachers the best things that they had done within a grade level or department of how things were doing
Taylor currently serves as a Coordinator of Innovative Learning for a mid-sized school district in Texas. He is a speaker, writer, and coach for all who are in conflict with the status quo.