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You Have to Want to Change

Change Just Ahead Green Road Sign with Dramatic Clouds, Sun Rays and Sky.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” ~ Carl Jung

Change. Change is hard. Change is stressful. Nobody enjoys change.

For people to want to change, they must acknowledge a gap between their present state and a preferred future. It is human nature to resist change – often quite aggressively.

Rather than attempting to force a teacher to change their practice, we must inspire them to do so. This inspiration must be presented compassionately and without judgment. When presenting a colleague with an alternative future state, it is important that they perceive it as a positive opportunity, rather than a condemnation of their present reality.

Dan Pink’s brilliant book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, presents three main factors in human motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. If you haven’t had a chance to view the RSA Animate version of the TED Talk he gave about his book, it is a must see!

If we are to motivate teachers to change their professional practice, we have to tap into these motivational factors. It may be beyond our control to give a teacher more autonomy in their work. It may be difficult to increase the level of purpose that a teacher sees in their profession. However, we can all increase our mastery of the incredibly complex craft of teaching. If we can help a teacher to see how they can get better at what they do, they will be motivated to change.

In my humble opinion, video is one of the best tools we have at our disposal to show a teacher an alternative to their current practice. By watching video together and focusing reflective conversation on the video, rather than on a teacher’s own pedagogy, teachers can embrace change in a very non-threatening manner.

Success at the Core has a tremendous library of videos that can be used to help a teacher, or a group of teachers, to see a possible classroom reality that is different from what they know. The Teaching Channel also has an impressive array of video resources. Once a teacher has recognized a gap between where they are and where they want to be, change will come naturally.

There is an incredible motivational video on YouTube, called How Bad Do You Want It (Success)? The central quote from the video is this: “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Let’s help our colleagues crave improvement, then let’s be there to hand them the oxygen mask!

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2 Responses to You Have to Want to Change

  1. Beth Ashley says:

    What a timely blog post, Tyler. Issues around change are on the minds of administrators and teachers every day. These are great resources to help us navigate change. There are some additional resources from Solution Tree, in Learning by Doing, and Learning Forward that facilitate great discussion. Also, the videos and print materials in the Success at the Core module “Implementing New Programs” are excellent.

  2. Heather Byington says:

    Having moved to a new district and school, there have been a lot of changes this year, and some have been difficult. Thinking about addressing a different type of student group with different needs than in my other school has been both challenging and motivating. Thanks for the resources. I’m going to check them out.

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