So it is the beginning of September … and whether you have been in school a few days or a few weeks, you could be feeling overwhelmed by all the changes you have encountered …
My advice is to remember to breathe and think about CHANGE as an opportunity for learning … even if you did not want that change to happen …
What do Learning and Change have in common?
At first glance, those two themes don’t really appear to go well together. In some ways, they seem to be on either ends of the spectrum … if you learn something and then it changes, that appears to cancel out what you have learned.
Reflecting on change has helped me realize another way those things can be connected. Since things keep changing, there is a need for continued learning in so many areas especially those related to education and technology, since those are changing so quickly. The more you learn, the greater potential there is for change and growth.
Think about how much is learned from doing the same things correctly over and over. Does your learning change in that situation?
Now think about how much is learned that the times when success may not be found or adaptations are needed. Does your learning change in that situation?
We learn more when things do not happen the way we expected than when things go according to plan. The changes that are needed for success broadens our learning. As teachers, we are constantly evaluating and adjusting for student instruction. It is helpful to remember that when realizing all the new possibilities that may be too overwhelming to even think about trying.
If you never attempt to change to do or learn something, you will never know what you might have been able to learn from the success or the potential failure of that attempt.
Another thing that is connected by the themes of learning and change is the focus on knowledge and/or thinking. Really the 21st Century skills can be connected together by the learning that takes place as the thinking changes.
The new mix of skills students need is centered around their thinking about learning and change. That new mix requires the reshaping/changing of the ways that we learn and think. That new mix is not the same for all students since one size does not fit all in the areas of thinking, learning, and changing.
There has to be a balance somewhere and technology offers many possibilities to assist with that balance.
Just as one size does not fit all for students, the same goes for the approaches to change for teachers. Not everyone handles change the same way. While some embrace and welcome change, other fear and avoid change which leads to the different stages of change adaptation: innovator, leader, early majority, late majority, and resistor.
Although the differences in people can cause challenges in interpersonal relationships, I think the differences are needed for growth, development, and change to happen. In my mind, I see individuals who fall into these categories bouncing ideas off each other challenging the thinking of all of the categories. I don’t really think it is the action of the change that puts people in these categories. I think it more about what may or may not happen as a result of the change.
I think the way we approach change is based on our previous experiences in handling and/or dealing with the results of a change. Just as a teacher needs to meet students where they are to help them move forward, a leader needs to identify the feelings concerning change of the group or individuals before he or she will be effective as a change agent.
I think the connections between learning and change play a role in the new road map that is needed to promote learning for today, tomorrow, and the future.