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?

10 comments for “3 Ideas To Help Others Embrace Change

  1. November 29, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    This is a great post and so timely for me. I have been feeling very discouraged lately. I try to share ideas I learn from twitter, blogs, articles and webinars but feel most of it falls on deaf ears or end up in the trash can (real or digital version). I just want someone to feel passionate about it with me in my own backyard. You made a great point that just because I love it, means everyone should love it or want to try it. It would just be nice to have a planning partner at school. BUT I will continue sharing with your thoughts in mind. I think many see it as “one more thing” to do or that it will be their job harder. All new or different things take more time at first. There’s a learning curve but nearly all good things take time. My question is how can we get them to go past what they have done forever. Yes, it’s good and I so value what they do but how do we get someone past their own experiences to consider a different or better way when they feel their way is good enough?
    Thanks for the great post.

    • November 29, 2013 at 6:14 pm

      I meant just because I love it DOESN’T mean everyone should love it or want to try it. (sorry that word was important ;)

  2. Natalie McKalip
    November 30, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I’m doing new things in my art class by using technology. I have surprised and motivated many of my students too by using tech to research, write, and create artwork to publish on Artsonia. I always share short and sweet lessons about what I have been learning online. I introduced augmented reality and created an AR center for all of the ColAR App coloring pages. My principal is very happy about seeing the students use our iPad to activate their coloring pages and learning new technology. I started an innovative art day for my eighth grade artist called: “Thinking Thursday”. We publish those artworks on Artsonia also. The students research an area of art they are passionate about and create an artwork based on research found on/from the Internet. Now, my students want to create another day called: Wondering Wednesdays”. My learning objective is creativity that ignites a passion for learning. I’m a certified visual arts teacher K-12. I teach, mentor, and guide learning using technology for the arts as a new teaching style/method.

  3. November 30, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I feel that your insights are right on. I have read both Drive and To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink and have found them to offer tremendous insight in regard to what I do as an administrator (and actually as a parent) day in and day out. As the principal of a Catholic school, being Mission driven and connecting to that Mission or purpose is especially critical. I must help all stakeholders, whether students, staff, parents, perspective school families, or benefactors, find their investment (time, money, energy, effort) purposeful by working smarter, not necessarily harder, in order to solve problems that I can help them identify. Problem finding, as Pink mentions, is as important is helping them to see how whatever your “selling” holds the solution.

  4. Doc stan
    December 2, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Teachers all around the world, where I have taught at all levels, will almost certainly not only embrace change,but would enjoy having a bit more in their pockets too. Were not elbow patches on sports coats invented by Oxford lecturers? Too broke to afford a new jacket?
    Eysenck once said something like “if you spend four shillings and sixpence on an IQ test, then don’t expect to get any better results than what it would cost at that price”. Comparatively, one can’t expect too much from our educational culture, if good salaries are not paid to those who not only come up with the new ideas, but also implement them.
    Yes. Teachers would easily embrace change, but they’d prefer to be paid better than we find, especially in English-speaking countries. Democracy has a long way to go when it demands many years of training, certification and in-service from its teachers, while demanding nothing similar for being a parent, a politician or a rich man who evades his taxes.

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