During the workshop sessions I recently led at the AHDS conference I gave a presentation on The Seven Sides of Education Leadership – I’ve experimented here with Jing to try to capture the concept in a five minute video – It proved to be something of challenge to compress an hour and half into five minutes but I’d welcome feedback.
The point which particularly interested me in the discussions which took place on Friday was how some headteachers were uncomfortable with the word “change”. It seemed to me that they equated change with externally imposed initiatives which had litle positive impact within their schools. They wanted to look for an alternative word such as “adaption”. In fact this point was touched upon by Norman Drummond earlier in the day when he suggested that we should use “enhancement” instead of “improvement” as the latter term implies that what we are doing at the moment is in inferior and needs improvement. – which undermines all the efforts which people are putting into their work.
I don’t have as much difficulty with the concept of “change” as others might, as I equate change with learning – when I learn something I have changed. If I’m not learning then I’m not fulfilling my professional obligation. I also believe that learning and seeking to improve what we do is a fundamental part of the human condition.
However, I understand how teachers and headteachers perceive change as something over which they have no control – “They tell us what to do and we have to do it” Yet the thing over which teachers have the most control – their classroom practice – is the one thing that that is the most important bearing upon the effectiveness of the education process. I believe we need to reconceptualise what change means to teachers and school leaders by seeing it as being an essentially internally driven process – as opposed to the externally imposed model which dominates people’s perspective at the moment.