Change – taking ownership

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.

2 thoughts on “Change – taking ownership

  1. Don, I cant seem to hear the audio on the jing 5 minute video? I have my volume at full.Could just be my pc.

    I have just been reading an article on Dutch Primary Schools and concepts of learning organisations within. Some thoughts from this;

    “People are increasingly coming round to the view that instead of such projects (Change models implemented from above which have produced disappointing results), the schools themselves must bring about change with each member of the team being an agent of change” it also warns that this approach (i.e. teachers focusing on purely what they deliver in the classroom) can lead to a “balkanized” culture of isolated teachers.

    So I agree there is a need for change at delivery level but good practice must be shared somehow to avoid negative competition culture(your previous post) and isolation amongst staff.

  2. Thanks Bill. Just tested it on my laptop and can’t make out the audio. Will try again.

    Senge defines “Balkanisation” as a collective state of mind where a group or organisation isolate themselves from others in the belief that they have nothing to learn from outwith their community – or as we might sometimes say in Scotland – “Here’s tae us, wha’s like us, damn few and they’re a’ deed!”

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