Change isn’t easy…

No-one said change was easy.

It can be difficult to shift from...

  • teaching in your old way to experimenting with a different way.
  • being in control of the learning  to letting go and allowing the learners take ownership.
  • focusing on teaching to focusing on learning.
  • planning what and how to really considering why.
  • working in a closed classroom to sharing a flexible open environment.
  • comfortable thinking to disruptive thinking.
  • telling kids to encouraging them to discover for themselves.
  • teaching to the whole class to catering for individuals.
  • assessment of learning to assessment that informs further teaching and learning.
  • following a prescribed program to creating powerful learning experiences from scratch.
  • emphasising content to reflecting on process.
  • being the boss of the class to being part of the learning community.

It isn’t easy. Learning new ways is challenging. It requires openness, time, perseverance, reflection, practice and resilience. All the things we expect of our students. Learning can be messy, complex and uncomfortable. But if we’re educators, in the business of learning, we need to be learners ourselves.

We have no choice.

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20 thoughts on “Change isn’t easy…

  1. No wonder change agents are so often have that feeling of being unsure, and out of their depth. I used to think that as a curriculum leader I had to know exactly how to deal with every challenge. Now I think that my team and PLN will help us find a pathway and possible solutions. Thanks Ed.. the post put very succinctly the difficulty of change.

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  2. So true indeed. Your point on encouraging students to discover for themselves reminds me of a recent article in the TES on how some students are not sufficiently resilient.
    http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6065624.

    Alan Percy’s quote:
    “Learning is finding out something that you did not know and struggling with it. It’s almost as if, if they do not know something immediately they feel as though they are failing.”
    struck a chord. We need to let our students know that struggling is OK, it’s how you learn.

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    1. Thanks, Colleen. Interesting article and I really like the quote! It extends to some teachers too, I’m afraid… the model of ‘it it isn’t easy, then it’s wrong’. We have a new flexible open-plan learning space at our P-3 campus and it’s tough for people to grapple with the struggles and big changes in thinking that are required, so that we can provide our learners with opportunities to learn in different ways at their own pace.

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  3. So true!
    I’m constantly struggling myself to help teachers achieve these shifts…one at a time. It isn’t easy, but I am not going to give up. If I manage to persuade one out of 10 teachers at a time during my workshops to experiment with something new or how to use self-assessment instead of assessment as part of the learning process, etc. I’m happy. And I do hope that this one teacher will then be able to motivate another teacher to try out the same thing… Slow and not easy process, but it’s definitely worth it🙂.

    Thank you for reminding us of all of this!

    Erika

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  4. Well put! The first step that is missing from your list is finding a way to make sure everyone knows that the change is taking place around them! It is not only possible, but a reality, that many teachers are working away in their classroom unaware of the need to make changes.

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    1. True, but the post was inspired by people who do know there’s change and are finding it hard to manage. I feel strongly that teachers need to be willing to be learners themselves. We need to be open to new things and willing to struggle with them, even if they aren’t easy… this is what we expect of our students every day.

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  5. A fantastic post – you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head! It all boils down to taking a risk, and not only realizing that change is going to happen, but to also embrace that change. Thanks for the post.

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  6. Such great reminders. Sometimes I feel like I am too often in a constant state of change and doing some of the 10 too much, but the quest is always one for balance, not necessarily consistency. Thanks! @3nmeinob

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  7. Good succinct post, as always.

    A couple of points though. I agree that teachers need to be learners to better emphatise with their students and that change, often not easy, is a necessary part of this. My approach is to remind myself how – ie. step out of my comfort zone – just as in this post Teacher, be a learner – step out of your comfort zone – a challenge I posed on myself.

    I think we could all agree however, that we can’t always be in a state of change as may be derived from “experimenting with new ways”. We can’t always be experimenting or else we’ll never know what really works and why. I think that I see each of your point above as a spectrum that an effective teacher navigates. For example, teachers must be able to teach to a class as well as cater to individuals, emphasise content as well as reflect on process, etc.

    So maybe, it should be “shift between” rather than “shift from-to”. Does this make sense? Perhaps this is the bigger challenge.

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  8. This is very true and I could see how difficult it must be. Though I am still in school to become a teacher, I know that education and teaching will always change. I have come to understand that I do not need to be too set in a certain way because I might have to adapt to a new teaching style. You said it best when you said that teachers must be learners as well. I couldn’t agree more. Though this change has to be hard, I know that if it is in the best interest of my students then I will do whatever is necessary. Technology is such a vital part of childrens lives now that it is only right that we incorporate it into the education system. As a future teacher, I want to focus on learning and let the kids have some responsibility in teaching themselves and helping in areas that I would usually just do myself. Thank you for this post!!

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  9. Hello again!

    I enjoyed reading this post and completely agree. Teaching methods need some remodeling. Simply shoving information into students’ brains isn’t the best teaching strategy and it needs to change. Granted, change is hard, but it’s healthy.

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  10. I agree with you that change is not always easy. I can understand why veteran teachers might find change difficult. Once they have established routines that work, it is hard to break the pattern. As a new teacher I will keep your suggestions in mind when making my first lesson plans. I think making the classroom more learner friendly than teacher based is a great idea.

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    1. Hi Molly

      Just to clarify… I am a veteran teacher! I’ve been teaching for 30 years and I can assure you that the most forward thinking people in my school are all ‘old’! You might be surprised to hear that plenty of young teachers have problems with change too.

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  11. Change can be very difficult, some more than others. I liked this blog post because you made a comparison between the current way and the new way of teaching. “Working in a closed classroom to sharing a flexible open environment” would probably be the hardest for me to do as a teacher. However, I think there are many benefits to being very open in your classroom and flexible. Also, “Comfortable thinking to disruptive thinking” would be another hard one for me. I don’t like to be out of my comfort zone but you have to do what is best for the students. Some of the points you mentioned in your post are things I am learning in my EDM 310 class and some of my other classes this semester as well. I enjoyed your blog post and it really gave me some insight as to what I am going to have to do when I become a teacher as far as keeping up to date with the newest methods.

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