I am never one to shy away from a challenge and am quite fond of tackling wicked problems. Which is why I was excited to join Paul O’Neill in planning and facilitating the EARCOS Preconference session for curriculum leaders. The focus? The knowing-doing gap.
Given all we know, why is change so hard? There is no easy way to answer that question and we certainly didn’t try to–rather we hoped to create a space to enquire and explore ways to understand and adapt to challenges.
We started by crowd-sourcing some of the common things we know schools and educators keep doing despite what we know from research and from our own experiences in schools.
Change of any kind can feel uncomfortable–at an individual and at a system level. Is it because we expect instant success? How open are we to tolerating the dip that usually occurs pretty much whenever we change something? In an educational, context Dylan Wiliam expressed it like this in his book, Sustaining Formative Assessment with Teacher Learning Communities:
“The collection of routines that teachers establish to get through the day are their greatest asset, but at the same time, a liability because getting better involves getting a little bit worse, at least for a while.”
Our day with curriculum leaders afforded the time to explore, through case studies drawn from the people in the room, where we get stuck and how to navigate some of those dips. We gave people opportunities to plan with team members, to immerse themselves in curated resources, enter into coaching and consulting conversations, and explore how a framework can be useful for analyzing change with.
The following are a few of the tools our colleagues helped us field test and used to do some problem solving and forward planning with:
As always, I learned so much from listening to other people’s stories. It was a rewarding day spent with thoughtful and caring educators.