Planning and Implementing Change
What is a Change Agent?
- An educational change agent is the individual who can bring about positive, lasting change for the clientele he/she serves.
Change Is Difficult!
- Nevertheless, as an educational leader you must know how to bring about change.
Think About Making Change in Your Own Behavior
- Quit smoking
- Begin an internship
- Are these easy? – NO!!
Why do People Resist Making a Change?
- It makes individuals feel:
- Inadequate – I’m not sure I can do this.
- Alone – No one else sees this as needed.
- Scared – I’ll lose friends, respect, etc.
- Overwhelmed – How will I every get this accomplished? It seems like it is two steps forward and one step back!
As Machiavelli said years ago…
- “There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things.”
- from The Prince
Change Takes Time and is Difficult
Change Agents at Work Throughout Their Careers
- Preprofessional Teacher
- Stetson Interns (all tiers)
- Professional Teacher
- Accomplished Teacher – advanced degrees and classroom experience
Preprofessional Teacher Stetson Interns – Tier 1
- All students are learning about the process of change and the role of change agents.
- Students begin to dialog about factors that call for and influence change.
Preprofessional Teacher Stetson Intern – Tier 2
- Students begin to apply what they have learned. For example:
- KNOWLEDGE – alternative assessment learned in EN 326
- ATTITUDE/Skills – applies alternative assessment in EN 328 science project and/or EN 395 Junior Field
- Time to complete – 1 semester
Preprofessional Teacher Stetson Intern Tier 3
- Example of further application during the internship:
- INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR/Disposition – includes alternative assessment strategies in teaching/assessing during internship
- Time to complete – 1 semester
- GROUP BEHAVIOR - ?? Shared results with cooperating teacher (assuming alternative assessment was not used)
- Time to complete - ?? Remember, you are facilitating change and may not have sufficient time to change group behavior.
Two Major Types of Change Processes
- Directive Change– subordinates are are “ordered” to implement a change. Often seen in educational settings.
- For example – mandates from the legislature
- Participative change
- Informal leaders and formal leaders work together to bring about change.
- Bandwagon change - isn’t really a change process. It is done because “everyone else is doing it.”
- For example: “Fun Friday” in schools
At The Preprofessional Stage You Are Responsible For:
- acquiring knowledge of the change process,
- understanding the differences in participative change, directive change, and “bandwagon”
- looking for opportunities to make positive change and beginning the process.
- How a change agent might work at the professional level:
- KNOWLEDGE – attends a Language Arts Conference – DeNelian Handwriting session
- Time to complete--1 hour Follow-up reading 3+ hours
- ATTITUDE (Disposition) – continues reading, observes in classrooms using DeNelian, talks with teachers teaching DeNelian handwriting.
- Time to complete – about 6 months
Professional Teacher cont.
- INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR –gets permission to try the DeNelian system with own class. Talks to 2nd grade colleagues who agree to follow in a pilot study for the school year.
- - Time to complete - 1 year
- GROUP BEHAVIOR – 3rd grade teachers confirm the ease of transition from manuscript to cursive. Discussion in faculty meetings. System finally adopted school wide.
- - Time to begin implementation – 2 years
- KNOWLEDGE – new information from studies concerning K-8 school delivered at Better Schools Conference
- Time to complete - 2 hour at a conference, follow-up reading - minimum of 6 hours
- ATTITUDES – continued research, visit K-8 schools, compare FCAT test scores
- Time to complete - 6 - 12 months
Accomplished Teacher, continued
- INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR – begins sharing with colleagues, looks at other opinions, appointed to the District Student Achievement Study Council
- Time to complete - up to 2 years
- GROUP BEHAVIOR – Study Council recommends district establish two K-8 pilot schools; study results of pilots
- Time to complete - 3 years minimum
Connecting the Accomplished Practices to Change Agent
- Change can take place in every area; therefore in every AP area. The most likely areas for pre-service teachers to initiate change are:
- Assessment – uses rubrics, alternative assessments
- Communication –begins a classroom newspaper or begins a program to call homes each day to just leave a short positive message about the student
- Diversity – gives choices of assessment forms for ways students can show mastery
- Learning Environment – begins cooperative learning groups. Institutes Environment Circle Time where students help solve environmental concerns in the classroom and on campus.
- Planning – establishes planning sessions with the specialists so
- they can better support the classroom curriculum.
- Technology –begin using electronic grade, PowerPoint to present material, start a class e-mail correspondence with a c class in another state.
- As a preprofessional, your knowledge of
- the change process may exceed your opportunity to see change through the Group Behavior Stage of change beyond your grade level or school.
- However, “plant the seed,” and “water” as much as possible.
- You can make a difference!!
- “Bandwagon change” does not last.
- Participative change- has staying power.
- Knowledge base established.
- True attitude change.
- Participants are given time and reason to change their attitude
- Individual behavior changed by choice.
- Change is an internal rather than external decision. A true choice
Why is there resistance to change?
- Because of:
- Habit – “This is the way we’ve always done things.”
- Comfort zone – “I like doing it this way.”
- Fear of the unknown – It isn’t (totally) broken, so why try to fix it?—It could be worse!!
Disposition and Skills of Effective Change Agents
- Effective change agents:
- start the change process with themselves rather than with others
- do not force change; they facilitate it
- create their own enthusiasm
- develop a plan for change
- seek out and accept criticism of their ideas
- are able to get others to “buy into” their ideas for change
Change most likely will be at the:
- classroom or grade level for the preprofessional teacher
- grade or school level for the professional teacher
- district or state level for the accomplished teacher leader
What is involved in developing a change strategy?
- Identify discrepancies between actual (what is) and ideal (what ought to be).
- Develop a written plan to reduce or eliminate discrepancies between actual and ideal.
- Implement the plan.
- Have realistic expectations on time involved.
Stetson Trained Facilitative Change Agents:
- look for ways to make positive, participative change
- stay grounded in best practices research
- have a plan for change – avoid “jumping on the bandwagon”
- realize change takes time!
- evaluate and revisit as needed.
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