The following are initial reflections on the stages within this tool and experiences leading change from members of the 2013-2014 cohort of Integration Liaisons. Specific examples of how educators are using this tool will be added periodically.
Submit your example using the form at the bottom of this page, and revisit this page to read others’ examples in the future.
Overwhelmed by the change
Thinking about the change
Planning for the change
Implementing the change
Sustaining the change
More pain than gain
People may feel that the “costs” of a change are greater than the benefits. There have been many flavor-of-the-month educational reforms over the years. As a result, some say that the effort it takes to change — again — simply isn’t worth it. Make the case that the change is valuable enough to last — and that it will significantly improve their work. Provide assurance that the time and effort (the “costs”) they invest will go toward lasting change; the change won’t be short-lived. Highlight evidence of the benefits the change will bring.
People who feel their jobs are “passive” — meaning they feel low amounts of autonomy and decision-making — are often more resistant to change. This passivity might be the result of a district, building, or department climate. Educators say that teachers who feel trusted and respected as professionals are generally more open to change. It’s important for leaders to foster a climate of trust and respect.
Fear of failure
Trying new ideas can be scary. There’s a good chance of falling flat on your face! The way to handle this is first to acknowledge the feeling. Reassure people that there likely will be bumps in the road — getting something right the first time can be rare. Providing relevant training and ongoing support throughout the change process is crucial.
Tied to student achievement
Continue to make the case for why the change is beneficial. (The gains outweigh the pains.) How is the change in their own best self-interest? For example, the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) increases student engagement, which leads to far fewer discipline problems. Provide assurances of support — and follow through on these. Minimize the feeling of risk. Make the change as low-stakes as possible while people figure it out.
Think about who your messengers in support of change are going to be. Keep your audience in mind as you choose your message and messenger.
Embed someone who has embraced the change — and who has had success — in each professional learning community, team, or department. This person can act as a peer trainer or go-to person for others in transition.
Be honest about what else needs to change.