To change, or become different, is uncomfortable for some. Others thrive in it. Change can seem scary. It signifies newness. When there is change, what was once comfortable doesn’t look or feel the same. But without change, growth does not occur. This is why I think change is worth the risk.
So WHY change or do things differently when “this is the way we’ve always done it” (TTWWADI) seems to work? I wrestle with this question almost every day. It is often the toughest question to find the answer for. For me, change comes somewhat easy. I once shared with a friend that rearranging my living room furniture every few months feels good. Somewhere in the rearrangement of the furniture comes a different view, a different perspective, a different way to look at things. Although this is a small risk, it helps me keep the bigger things in life in perspective. So for me, change is not a huge undertaking, but for some, it is a giant roadblock. When working with others, I approach change with an open mind and try to be empathetic.
For me, the burning questions are,
Without change, HOW do you know “it” is really working? HOW do you know there isn’t a better way unless you make a change?
Dr. Brad Gustafson (@GustafsonBrad) and I recently had a conversation centered around change in the classroom. What change comes first, pedagogy or the learning environment? I thought to myself, no brainer, of course pedagogy. The pedagogy of a teacher who uses a compliance approach to teaching must change before bean bag chairs and tables instead of desks can be effective in their classroom. Right?
“Consider this…” Brad says,
If a teacher who leans more towards a compliance based approach opts for flexible learning spaces, they might be in a position to embrace student empowerment.
BAM!!! Just like that my mind was blown. Yes, I thought. He’s right. Just like my furniture rearrangement in my house…when it changes I see things in a different way. He continues to say,
…if in a position to embrace student empowerment a teacher’s pedagogy might be challenged then THIS is GOOD!
For me, change in the classroom is:
- for education to always be evolving.
- for students to own their learning and be an active partner in their education.
- for students and teachers to #becomebetter together.
- for teachers to model change and take risks.
We have to start somewhere. It doesn’t matter if it is as simple as adding flexible learning spaces or as revolutionary as redefining pedagogy. As Brad says,
If it leads to a small student win it’s better than not starting at all.