3 Questions to Consider When Implementing a New Idea in a School Community

This passage from a post by Gabrielle Marquette resonated with me:

Making big changes seem small is a skill that administrators need to excel at if we are going to see wide scale change in our educational system. Teachers need more time to reflect on their practice as it is highly dynamic. They need time to learn new tools and gather information. So, implementation is an area where we can gain some of this needed time. Leaders in all areas of education need to begin to think about their users or good ideas and worthwhile change efforts will be lost in a sea of information, twenty-four hour time constraints, and teacher exhaustion.

A teacher once said to me that educators are not afraid of change; they are worried that change is being pushed on them that will have no positive effect in the classroom. That stuck with me.

In a recent podcast, I discussed with a group that I have seen more change in schools in the last five years than I did in the prior fifteen. The reason I believe this to be true is that education as a whole has way better access to one another and they have a much better opportunity to learn from others than when I first started in the profession.  If people have access to great ideas and see their value, they will find a way to make them work within their setting. Positive change has been happening forever, but I believe it has been accelerated due to our access to one another.

Yet, change for the sake of change is never a good idea, and I do not believe that is ever the intent.

Here are a few questions to consider when implementing any “big” new idea or initiative at a school:

  1. Are our people part of the process? Is this being done to them, or with them?
  2. Does our community understand why the new idea or initiative is essential in the first place, and do we have a clear understanding of why this is beneficial?
  3. Are we ready to dedicate the necessary time to this process so that people will be able to understand, implement, and iterate the process in a deep manner to better help our community?

Gabrielle’s post reminded me of how important is that people understand why a change, or any modification, is necessary in the first place. If our community is not part of the process, understand why the process is essential, and don’t have the time required to learn and implement, then any new initiative is less likely to be successful.

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