In my current role as eLearning Coordinator, instigating change is part of my job description. With the speed that technology is evolving, its use in the classroom is constantly changing and improving. This is essential in order to enable our learners to participate in a digital world.
This is not without its hurdles of course. Any person in a position of management trying to implement change can find it difficult. Understanding why change is not going smoothly can help you to address these hurdles.
Knoster’s premise is that the six categories of Vision, Consensus, Skills, Incentives, Resources, and Action Plan all need to be present in order for complex change to occur successfully. Perhaps most interesting is what can go wrong if one of the categories is not present during the process.
CONFUSION RESULTING FROM A LACK OF VISION
Sharing your vision with those with whom you are trying to enact change with is very important. Staff will not understand why they are pushing forward without vision. Sometimes this vision is enacting larger strategic goals. If this is the case, being transparent with reasons why things need to happen will prevent confusion.
SABOTAGE RESULTING FROM A LACK OF CONSENSUS
I think management can assume too often that they alone have the power to push through a change when in reality it is the staff that makes it happen - kind of like pushing a car up a hill without the wheels. You have to be a bit of a salesman and get the "buy in" from those that are, in reality, going to be on the ground level making it happen. This does not mean 100% approval of course…it does mean setting the vision strongly enough and having enough hallway and informal conversations to win hearts and change minds.
ANXIETY RESULTING FROM A LACK OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Trying to enact change without upskilling them is like throwing staff into an athletics competition without training. Ultimately when they begin the race, they are going to fall over and fail, thus ending the race.
RESISTANCE RESULTING FROM A LACK OF INCENTIVE
Teaching can be one of the most selfless jobs in the world in the sense that they will always want to do what they think is best for their learners. Often, that is enough of an incentive in itself. Providing the evidence and examples of why something is valuable will help. Also, everyone likes a bit of praise or a nice big carrot to work towards....
FRUSTRATION RESULTING FROM A LACK OF RESOURCES
Technology is notoriously under-resourced and often lacks the infrastructure to support it. This is a frustration in itself and often takes a bit of creativity and persistence to work around. Physical resources aside, one of the most valuable resources is actually time. Not creating time to work on complex change can be equally challenging.
RUNNING THE TREADMILL AS A RESULT OF NO ACTION PLAN
Great leadership energy, plenty of financial backing, and a superb vision is not enough without an action plan that is shared with all and easily understood. Without having a measurable and reasonable goal to achieve, you never actually "get there" - it's a race without a finish line, which is exhausting!
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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