3 Ideas To Help Others Embrace Change


cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Ed Schipul

“To sell well is to convince someone else to part with resources—not to deprive that person, but to leave him better off in the end.” Daniel Pink

We have all heard it before…many teachers fear change.

As I think about this statement more and more, I think it is often an easy out.  Just because you are doing something, doesn’t mean someone else should be doing it.  That is not enough to get someone to embrace something.  I am firm believer that teachers have different strengths and that there should be a variance of people that you connect with as opposed to everyone being a carbon copy of one another.

Often it is not that teachers fear change, but that people are bad at selling why change is better.

Here is an assumption that we need to make in our work, if we want people to change. Educators want to do what is best for kids.

With that being said, here are three ideas that we need to focus on that are all connected.

1. How will this save me time?  No matter how many initiatives you want to implement in a school, the number of hours in a day does not change.  When we see “shiny,” we want to jump on it, but we have to realize there are only so many things that can be done in any school day.  Sometimes there is an influx of time at the beginning of any initiative, but in the long run, will this save time and if this is added on to someone’s plate, what is being taken off?

Which leads to the idea…

2.  We need to focus on different, not more.  As I have said before, we often make initiatives feel like they are something extra. For anything to happen, it is imperative that we focus on what will be different, not that we are doing more.  But different is not enough.

Which leads to the idea…

3. Is this better? This taps back into the assumption that teachers want to do what is best for kids.  If you can show why the time investment on doing something different makes something better, you will have a lot more buy-in than simply saying it is different.

If you can focus on those three things, do you think that you will be any closer to helping people embrace change?

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  • http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/ datruss

    Great insight George. Just a little pushback on ‘saving time’. I think sometimes things that are easier for educators are perceived as better for students, and a lot of things that ‘save time’ are actually not what is best for kids. Further to that, often trying something new (and different) is front-end loaded with effort and learning and time consumption, so again the ‘saving time’ message is not perceived or well received.
    That said I love the concept of different, not more (such as more formative assessment, less grading of tests and quizzes). I also love the idea that different may not be better and that we need to be asking ourselves ‘is this better for our students?’ as we try different strategies and tools.
    ~Dave

  • gormang

    Very good article and very simple rules to remember. If you can demonstrate those three things then it certainly makes the transition of change easier. And see I will comment whether I’m mentioned or not.

  • http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/ Andrew Weiler

    We need to be the change we want to see, otherwise what we say will be like throwing sand in the wind. Hence change begins with ourselves.

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