LE 4: Educational Change

Reading Specialist Winter 2014

In this LE we learned about the principles of educational change and we explored a variety of ways to implement educational change in reading. There were so many ideas that I could have shared from this LE, but then the Smore would have gone on forever.

Millie summed up the purpose of this LE perfectly when she said, "as reading leaders it is important to adapt and embrace change and continually reflect on our practice."

I also would like to include this thought from Pam, "we should always be asking at the very least two questions 1)who is benefiting from this change? and 2) whose voice is missing? Questioning opens up space for thoughtful dialogue and I believe that as leaders it is our role to make sure we are the folks in the room asking the difficult questions."

Perceptions of Change

It was interesting to see where everyone stood with respect to their views on change. This is how it all shook out.

Change Sustainability

We read another Michael Fullan article in e-3, Resiliency and Sustainability (see link below). You elaborated on one element, explaining what it meant to you and how you could connect this understanding to your role as an educational leader.

  • Public service with a moral purpose
    • Karina said, "As a future leader in education, I would want for my colleagues to feel as though what they are learning and implementing in their classrooms is not only do-able, but also purposeful. If they believe in what they are doing, then it will benefit all students and help them succeed."
    • Amanda said, "We can invite the Superintendent and Board personal to events or to visit our classroom, we can also get the community involved by taking what we are doing to the media which promotes excitement and more transparency about what is happening within the school."

  • Lateral capacity building through networks
    • Shelley said, "Being part of a professional learning community at a larger level (with other schools, school board, etc…) helps teachers feel valued, have a sense of belonging and feel rewarded when achieving common goals. Being a leader and working with others in larger groups will also encourage teachers to try new things and be more reflective about their teaching."
    • Millie said, "The purpose of networking is to share ideas and knowledge allowing you to see different perspectives. This is very important as a leader to have teachers who are open-minded. When surrounded by other educators, mutual commitment is generated towards a deeper understanding."
    • Stephanie F said, "When teachers visit other classrooms or boards and actually see/hear what is happening in different classrooms it becomes more tangible and they are more likely to implement in their own rooms."
    • Dean said, "It is collaboration like this that helps to drive change and ensure that it lasts. When we have the chance to see what others are doing, it allows us the opportunity to take these ideas and make them our own."
    • Navjit said, "Without networking, the capacity for each child to succeed is limited to the approach of his/her teacher, rather than a collective approach that has the potential to reach out to all."
    • Jocelyn said, "As an educational leader, this new understanding makes me think about ways I can “hook” in colleagues to see the power behind this mind-set and in doing so, create an internal network whereby voices can be heard, questions can be unpacked together and strategies/experiences/knowledge can be shared and respected."
    • Stacey said, "If I was in a leadership position, this is one element that I would make an attempt to bring back into the education system. It is valuable for those that are involved, and it is a forum for sharing and collaboration with those in the same field, but outside of the immediate learning team."

  • Deep Learning
    • Heather said, "Deep learning applies to students but also to ourselves as educators because we are ongoing, lifelong learners who need to continue to strive for modern approaches and strategies to better meet the needs and interests of our students."
    • Marlene said, "It is because of this commitment that we engage in professional dialogue with our colleagues and examine student work to help us refine or modify our instructional strategies. As an educational leader, I would reinforce this element by promoting it to my colleagues and providing them with time and support to put it into practice."
    • Marc V said, "As an educational leader, I strongly feel that I need to start looking at my role as a teacher in a more systemic nature. Focusing on the progress of my students and coming up with strategies that will allow them to improve is important and beneficial, but as an educational leader I feel that need to look beyond my classroom."
    • Greg said, "As leaders in education, we have to challenge our students in their realm. We have to come up with tasks that are of interest to them, problems that are true to their world. This up-hill task will require effort from everyone involved in the educational system."
    • Pam said, "I will use this understanding in my future practice as an educational leader by ensuring that my I am knowledgeable about the curriculum expectations, my students strengths and needs, the resources available to me to deliver the curriculum, then using this information, taking the time to set ambitious goals and success criteria for myself and my students. "
    • Madeline said, "When we engage in content, dialogue with our colleagues and reflect on assessment data, we ensure that we are providing ourselves with the essential tools and information we need to teach to our fullest potential."
    • Carly said, "I can use this element in my role as an educational leader by raising the bar and continually learning new ideas and strategies that can be used to better assist and motivate that students in our school."

  • Cyclical energizing
    • Susan said, "We as educators, principals and school boards must take the best of each resource we are provided with and never stop learning new and better ways of teaching."
    • Stephanie S said, "I liken this CE in education to working out at the gym. People often feel motivated to start exercising and eating right in the New Year, but reach a plateau eventually. It is when this plateau is reached that something needs to change in order to continue progressing – people need to be taken out of their comfort zone in order to achieve maximum results."
    • Denise said, "I believe that it is my job to constantly be aware of where my colleagues are in terms of the change. When do they need time to process and regroup? When do they need to be challenged to move forward? Where is the need; physical, emotional, mental or spiritual? It is also my role as leader to make sure I keep the vision at the forefront of all I do."

  • Long lever of leadership
    • Adele said, "Having benefited greatly from other leaders and mentors, I can appreciate how important it is to have strong leaders who are willing to invest the time and effort into creating other strong leaders."
    • Marc W said, "I believe in collaboration with other grade team members gives strong and long lasting leadership skill. I say this because we learned from other when we work together and often get inspired by other leaders."

  • https://learn.etfo-aq.ca/content/enforced/36726-A3213EB/docs/8%20Elements%20of%20Sustainability.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=kYyJix5Qpkk10JIbWOh5hHFfk&ou=36726

    Questions about Educational Change

    In e-4 you asked questions about educational change. These are the questions you asked.

    • If the purpose of implementing change is that ALL students can learn, and if we are expected to implement instructional programs that are geared toward our diverse classrooms, why is it so challenging to find the appropriate resources (i.e., texts, teaching manuals, etc), to aid in this implementation? Further, how can teachers access such resources that are also at the appropriate reading level? (Marlene)
    • How can teachers feel like they aren’t missing out on the training and having an opportunity to be a leader when funds and time are limited?” (Millie)
    • How do you become an instrument of change? Is it merely a question of seeing a need and creating a plan to meet the need? How do we get others on our team, without creating a lot of extra work for other teachers?” (Adele)
    • How can resistance to change be understood and used in a positive way in the process? (Karina)
    • How do you implement change and have ALL teachers equally embrace it so that EVERY class/all students are exposed to best teaching practices? (Stephanie F)
    • Although there are many teachers who want change, how does the system react to people who sabotage change with their own personal agendas, attitude, etc?” (Greg)
    • How to encourage others to make changes to improve student learning without feeling fearful, negative or unmotivated?” (Shelley)
    • How can leaders of change encourage those who are reluctant to change? (Stephanie S)
    • When principals, superintendents, premieres, and even staff are ever changing how can we follow this process for effective change that we have read about in the last few articles? (Pam)
    • How do we reduce the 'pressure' the public puts on change in education? (Denise)
    • How can we respectfully embrace our new Principal but at the same time respectfully choose to pursue the change implemented by the previous Principal that we all have bought into? (Navjit)
    • How can we best tackle the issue the "TIME" to promote a collaborative school culture when the struggles often revolve around release time, funding, personal time, etc? (Jocelyn)
    • How do you keep motivation high amongst people who are really struggling with implementing change in the classroom? (Carly)
    • How do you encourage a change that not all educators or administrators are on board with? Should you proceed with it regardless? (Stacey)
    • How do educational leaders ensure that all students’ needs are being addressed when changes are being made? Are proposed programs and changes equitable for marginalized students? (Dean)
    • How do we monitor whether educational change is happening effectively? When do we determine whether we are nearing the final process of educational change? (Heather)
    • Do we need to have always everybody along before initiating changes? How long do we except change to take place? (Marc W)
    • What can school leaders do to promote collaboration and long term commitment amongst their staff during educational change? (Marc V)
    • How do you facilitate educational change if you do not have the support of your administration? (Madeline)
    • How are boards making teachers accountable to ensure the educational change that needs to occur happens in a realistic and attainable way? What happens with teachers who are resisting the change? (Susan)
    • How do we make sure this (implementation) ‘dip’ does not affect our student (and teacher) learning or motivation? (Amanda)

    Educational Change Resources

    Here are the resources you shared with us.
    Educational Change Challenge
    Learning to Change, Changing to Learn: A Canadian Perspective
    Jocelyn was kind enough to share her blog with us about her Kindergarten journey.