Sometimes profound thinking comes out of the most innocent of discussions.

This morning I was asked, “How did you crack the nut when you were creating online learning for teachers- the kind that truly meets their needs right now?”

I took about 8 minutes in the video to unpack the steps that are needed when you are mitigating change – moving from trust building to action. I hope you will watch the video and add your thoughts and comments below.

Steps for Implementing Change with Teachers

1. Listen to the real life struggles the teachers are experiencing.
2. Build trust. Help them think about their strengths in managing change before COVID-19.
3. Introduce a new way forward that is focused on their existing norms, values, and dispositions.
4. Unpack the needed change as it is related to perceptions, values, and then have the messy, hard conversations. Do this so that those getting ready to implement the change will see the need for and come to adopt the new values and dispositions.
5. Key truth: We make time for that which we value.
6. Offer lots of examples and shared practice around the change
7. Help them take one small step to implement a change that is self selected by the educator.
8. Guide and help those you are coaching to implement this change until they own it.
9. Understand that perceptions, dispositions, and individual beliefs change first.
10. Work with those you are coaching to practice the changes more broadly.
11. Watch and celebrate individuals and schools. You will see business as unusual become business as usual as they implement the change with elegance.

Where We Missed it in the Massive Change We Implemented During COVID-19 Outbreak

1. We didn’t listen to teachers or observe them in action to help find the problems.
2. We didn’t build trust around our handling of this issue.
3. We didn’t lay existing empirical knowledge of what we know works and what is best practice on the table first – such as developmentally appropriate practice.
4. We didn’t establish collective, shared vision with all stakeholders.
5. We didn’t communicate well and in some cases not at all.
6. We didn’t attach the new knowledge of what works well when teaching online to existing knowledge of what works well in the traditional classroom, We should have done this to build schema, which in turn would have resulted in self efficacy and confidence.
7. We didn’t provide coaches, other supports, content, or step-by-step directions which would have reduced the stress and feelings of hopelessness.
8. We didn’t consider what was happening at home- such as the stress of whose kids come first, ours or our students.
9. We didn’t focus enough on teacher well-being or teacher SEL.
10. We didn’t bring teachers together after the first week to share what is and isn’t working so that we could adjust and improve collectively.
11. We let the scary, drunk uncle push everyone into the deep end and scream, “Swim” without teaching strategy first. This meant, without meaning to, we let leaders, teachers, and parents gasp and flail in the deep end as they tried to figure out how to “swim”.

It’s not too late. Want to back up and put yourself back on track?

Instant Impact Collaborative starts November 9, 2020. We can offer you a “do over” and help you get your confidence back. We can help you have a life outside of school. We can address stress and overwhelm. We will show you what we have been doing for 13 years (175 years of collective experience) that really works. Join us. We can help. 

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Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice. She works with schools and districts from around the world helping them to infuse technology into their curriculums and by leading other digital conversion efforts. Sheryl also consults with governments, educational organizations and non-profits in development of their various professional learning initiatives. Sheryl is a sought-after presenter at national and international events, speaking on topics related to digital and online learning, teacher and educational leadership, online community building, and other educational issues impacting children of poverty. Sheryl served on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Board of Directors for six years. She co-authored The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age with Lani Ritter Hall. Sheryl has four children and four grandsons, Luke, Logan, Levi and Tanner and a trio of dachshunds. You can find out more on her blog and on Twitter @snbeach.
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