Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On Change, Fear, Risks and Trust - #CENZ15 launch event

A connected educator interview with Grant Lichtman on helping school teams to develop a capacity for change in a rapidly changing world.

What is the book '#EdJourney' about?
It is a story about many schools, what innovation means and how to overcome problems. There are conversations around education change, but the system [around education] has not. 

My 'take-away':

The biggest barrier for change and innovation is the fear of taking a risk. Gaining comfort with change is hard. Asking to do things that we are not sure about is uncomfortable. It's about having conversations, about what we want to do and to look at what is holding us back.

It is necessary to talk about risk in education and to step out of the comfort zone. Educators should take risks to grow professionally and being able to challenge each other. This might help with doing things different in the future.

Ways to overcome 'fear'?
People connecting, reaching out to each other for ideas and help. Get a shift from discomfort [with observations] to wondering why other teachers hasn't come and visit me in my class. Make teaching goals public with each other, give and receive feedback and get comfortable with that.

What if every teacher is part of a "cognitosphere"
We fundamentally changed how we learn and knowledge evolves. Schools are creating learners for the future. Look at what takes place in the classroom - teachers and students are co-learners. What flows through is knowledge and we are in the business of knowledge.

You are not a group of one, when connecting with others on twitter and through other on-line communities. No one is on an island anymore. Educators are willing to be contacted and talk about issues. Most educators want to see change take place, encourage people to start trying things. 

It is 'difficult' getting people to commit, as they are good at thinking, but posses a fear of taking the first step.

The most common risk is to allow ourselves to very simply ask the question of what constitutes great learning. Once this has been identified, make a promise to find what is best for our students. The resources in schools are not many, but powerful. Resources are time, space, money, people and knowledge. Aligning the resources with the vision is important.

When looking to next year, remember that there is no cook book recipe that works for all schools. School that are successfully changing how they 'do' learning for their students, creates value. Support the vision by using the five resources (as mentioned above). Articulate and communicate your unique individual aspects. Always think 'How is what we are doing powerful, how are we helping our students our place'?

Define what you want for learning outcomes, it is not just ticking boxes for a strategic plan. It is important to get on the pathway; look first at what great learning looks like. 

Feedback requires a culture of trust. How do we build trust?

We build trust by being in the room together (parents, students, community, teachers) by asking questions and solving and tackling problems together, rather than doing it in our silos. It's about going on the journey together!

~ "Change can be scary, but you know what's scarier? Allowing fear to stop you from Growing, Evolving and Progressing." - Mandy Hale ~


  1. A great summary of last nights learning! In my experience I have found it is not so much the risk taking that is a problem. But actually getting other practitioners including management to engage with 'why should we?' Myself personally I think that it is well documented now how effective e-learning supports and ignites learners in the classroom. Yet I am still struggling to get other practitioners to engage.

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      I have recently learnt that it can all come down to three kinds of 'work orientation': a job (where people work for paycheck), a career (where one mark achievements through money, but also through advancement) and a calling (where individuals see it as contributing to the greater good). Unfortunately, many people only see their career as a job.

      Everyone has 'signature strengths' and if we can get people to use and engage with these strengths often at work, they will see their work as contributing to the greater good (a calling) and their 'job' can be transformed from a burdensome means into a gratification.

      Conversation and problem solving is equally important. Have discussions with management and others using questions like: 'Are we doing things right'?, 'Are we doing the right things'? and 'How do we decide what is right'?

      All the best!

  2. I got to Grant Lichtman's interview a bit late so it is great to read your thoughts and reflections about the whole session, Marnel! Thanks! I loved what Grant had to say about connectivity. I think it is what many on our PLN know but it is very affirming to it articulated by someone such as Grant.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Claire!

      I agree! It was indeed good to hear that words of affirmation on what we know and do!