5 Step Change Strategy

WHAT is a good teaching strategy? It’s a plan for someone else’s learning. It encompasses the presentation of materials the teacher might make, the activities and exercises they designed for the students, providing access to resources and tools needed to develop a growing understanding of the subject – and assess it.

Laptops and computers are not a strategy and hardly a revolution without teachers, but the steps needed to succeed are hard to articulate. We now have a fleeting opportunity to reshape schooling with long overdue public funding, yet teachers still find ‘tabbed browsing’ a new concept. This is not funny, it’s scary. They can hum the tune, but not name the song. Even experienced, successful teachers that function well inside the cognitive apprentice classroom are web novices unable to develop any effective strategy, lock-stepped by intersecting perceptions of why they can’t or won’t do as the tide of change rises ever higher.

The strategy is relatively straight forward, but obviously requires access to a group of people who are experts in dealing with this issue. If we are to capitalise on school investment – there has to be someone to call, someone to help – when you need it. This is the role of leadership – to create a culture of participation.

This is the question to put to school leaders. “How are you demonstrating this strategy in your own work and provisioning it for your staff?.”

There are five steps that I believe must occur continuously.

  1. Encounter the idea, concept, principle or skill
  2. Get to know more about it
  3. Try it out for yourself
  4. Get feedback/evaluation
  5. Reflect (I liked, I wondered, my next steps)

It is a cycle of transition that won’t be done simply though infrastructure – and it amazes me how easily we accept press releases from high office about size, numbers and dollars – at the absolute expense of effective professional development of teachers. No effective teaching strategy, no effective learning. This is achieved by working with people who can implement it – not just talk about it.


11 thoughts on “5 Step Change Strategy

  1. I get it, but what about prioities?
    I have encountered so many “idea, concept, principle or skills” worth checking out but run into major time constraints. Especially as TL I find it really hard to decide which to follow and which to say “not now!!” I want to ensure that I am fair to all classes and all staff.

    • This too is about leadership. To me the priorities are those technologies that allow a flow-though of information – my personal interest is around online classrooms and virtual worlds. So I show more interest there than say Google Wave. I am not sure if you were talking school or personal priories though Audrey. Find out what they are exploring or interested in, and meet them half way – that seems fair. The priorities need to be clearly articulated by school leadership – and these need to be cyclic, incremental – and FUNDED. Thanks for taking the time to make me think!

  2. I love your articles – they promote thinking.

    PD vs infrastructure first is a bit like the chicken and the egg. Which is required first?
    PD without the infrastructure results in the skills but no way to implement them. Infrastructure first means many teachers do not have the skills to use it, but are unwilling to explore.

    A few years ago we tried the Teacher PD – TiLT and TiLT Plus. Mixed success but many teachers did not implement changes after these courses.

    Unfortunately the budgets are controlled by political parties who are after “good press” stories – The general public do not really understand the issues and do not care.
    We also have to deal with a teaching service that is aging and many (but not all) do not practice what they preach (Life long learning). No amount of training is going to move the teachers who do not want to learn. ICT has been a component of the curriculum for a few years, but many teachers just sign off these components and ignore them.

    Solution??? we need to implement infrastructure and coordinate PD – but we also need to inssist that all staff implement some change. The problem is how?

    • Thanks for the warm comments. How is though leadership and support over the long term to build and maintain better professional practice. Starting this is hard – but Execs need to direct funds to it and not hope it will just occur – for the reasons you suggest.

  3. While I mostley agree with your thoughts I have long believed that the cry for PD is a bit of a cover up. the problem is that teachers to often do not practice what they preach. Imagine what we would say if our students never did their homework! That is what is required- personal time invested in exploration, development of a personal learning network, and more. It is time to stop putting the responsibility eleswhere. Want to teach well for 21st century learning? then ask teachers to adopt 21st century collaborative practices first up – or even insist! Old PD models have no place in the fast-paced world of today.

    • Oh I agree Judy. If it is in the unit, in the scope and sequence and needs reporting against – then that will change a culture as it is part of the job. That is what happens to kids too – they don’t get to negotiate what they are being taught or how they are being taught it in school – yet that is exactly what they do out of it.

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  5. Hello,
    I have always liked to do things myself as it gives me satisfaction. I support the point that trying it yourself builds confidence, gives you satisfaction and add experience. Well the 5 points are comprehensive and should be followed step by step

  6. I think leadership is essential for success. School leaders need to spend time learning with someone who knows. They need to deploy resources, time release particularly for small teams, articulate a clear vision and celebrate and affirm success

    • I think a real problem in AU is that this is not a management culture, it’s seen as an expense rather than an investment. One off PD promotes people to churn what they learned. I would be great to see this happening over 18 months — as change is never achieved unless there is a culture to support it. As you say, leadership is essential — and many leaders are finding it hard to break free from the red-tape.

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