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Essential Conditions for Change

So many teachers say they would use technology more often, differently in a more transformative way if only......If only they had more PD, more support, more money, more evidence of its value, more time, more time, and more time. I'm sure this list isn't exhaustive. So, I've been asking educators to let me know what conditions did or should their schools or districts provide that would enable them to really make transformative change?

On a recent school visit, I spoke with a teacher who would be an excellent teacher with or without technology, but she wouldn't think of teaching without technology because of the abundant learning opportunities technology, and particularly 1:1, makes possible. Her students use their laptops to access primary source materials, reams of data, opinion pieces, etc. With their laptops, they are able to access the same information and materials that professionals in the field use. What's more, they don't simply use this material to answer a series of teacher or curriculum dictated questions, but to build case studies and develop informed opinions so they can go out into the world and know that they are not only prepared to knowledgeably impact the world today but also help shape the world in which they will be living long after many of us are gone.

When I asked this teacher what conditions she considered essential, she first and foremost said the school allowed her to *take risks and make mistakes.* To continue to try new ways to really stretch what she's doing to create a deeper,richer learning environment. This doesn't mean the school has given her a license to do something absurd, with no link to pedagogical best practice. Rather, she's able to explore new ways to apply best practices to meet her goals. And if something doesn't turn out perfectly the first time she tries it, she isn't told to stop, but rather given the space to analyze what worked and what didn't in order to learn and grow from the experience. Her goal is always to make more and better learning opportunities available to her students (A further note: her students were so engrossed in their work, they didn't leave when the class was over. The teacher had to hurry them out finally so they wouldn't be late for their next class.)

So, her essential condition was being allowed to take risks in terms of her teaching practice. When we spoke to the school principal and asked her the same question, she responded the same way. She recognized the importance of letting the teacher try new, pedagogically sound practices and explore the possibilities. So support from the school leader was also present, providing another key condition.

So, what are your essential conditions? Were there conditions you would add to my list? Why do you consider them essential? How would they help bring about truly transformative change? And, finally, how can you articulate your needs to help put in place the conditions you need to explore how you can make these learning opportunities possible?

I look forward to hearing from you!
November 27th, 2012 @ 11:04AM

need to change
Teacher should understand the psychology of the children, if they commit mistakes then the teacher has to rectify them. So that children can also understand their mistakes.

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