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Helping teachers make the change

Created by Silicon Schools Fund and Clayton Christensen Institute.

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Video transcript

- We've been talking a ton about all the ways that the role of the teacher is going to change, and now we're interested in how we make that transition happen, how we get teachers to be successful in a blended learning environment. - Now, because blended learning is so new, there's no off-the-shelf foolproof way of doing this, but we ask the schools that we've been profiling how they've helped to make this shift. - When we think about "How do we do professional development "for those who are in this rotational model "that includes instructional learning?" it's a lot about "How do we make sure "that you can manage a class where there's three "or four different things going on?" "How do we help you with routines "and processes and structure "so that the transitions are quick?" If a transition takes four or five minutes, we've lost valuable time in the day, and we actually, teachers where there might have a challenge with transition might actually time their transition. We also think about "How do we help teachers "who maybe have never been in a workshop model "transition to that workshop model?" because that's effectively what we're doing, and it's different. Someone who has taught kindergarten might know what that is, but someone who's been in high school maybe doesn't know what a workshop model looks like. We try to help them with that, and we try to, because we now have nine schools that are doing various different programs, being able to have our teachers go and observe other schools. We actually have a full day coming up where teachers from one school visit. It's across two days, so teachers from one school will go visit another school, and we'll close the region for one day, and then they'll flip-flop so they can see each other's school, learn from each other. - One of the core elements of our teaching model and our teacher professional development is that everything is filtered through our mission and the principles of our school model. For me, as a school leader, I become the guardian of these core values and the core elements of our model, but I need to free up teachers to have the time and to have the space to see other professionals who are doing project-based learning to examine the data so that they're making decisions completely rooted in the data, and most of all and most challenging is avoiding slipping into the old habits. This can be something as easy as coming up with a solution that worked at your last school because you see a student need there. In every case, we have to take it back to the data and back to our core principles of the model and use that to inform the directions that we're going to take with any minor tweak or any iterations to our model. In such a personalized environment, we try to avoid anything that's a one-size-fits-all, yet we still see this as recent as this week where in some classes, there's some common task for all students that might not all be at their level, so my job now is to use that moment as a case study and to think, "Well, how about the work or the intent "behind that could have been better personalized "for our model so that the students are actually focused "on their skills?" - Research tells us that one of the best ways to learn is to make a mistake, and particularly, young people, or all of us, I guess, we learn some of our most important lessons in life when we get it wrong or when we fail, so there's really nothing to be afraid of if you're a reluctant teacher. Kids get problems wrong all the time, and they know that teachers are human beings also and that it's okay if teachers get things wrong, too. I think one of the things you can do as a teacher is let the kids know, "This might not go perfectly, "and if it doesn't go perfectly, "we're going to change it, and we'll try another way. "This is new for me. "This is new for you, but here's what we're striving for. "Here are our hopes. "If we get this right, it means "you're going to have more choice. "You're going to have "a more personalized learning experience. "I'll be able to help you more on the things "you need help with, and I'll spend less time "trying to give you lessons on things "you don't need help with." - So here's my advice. There are some great consultants out there who can help you with elements of your planning or your teacher training, but let's also not forget how much we all really do know about getting teachers on board with processes and having new models in our schools. What's important? We need to have teachers deeply involved in the process so they can own it and bring their wisdom and expertise to the process. We need to think about change management because these ideas do not get dropped on top of schools. They get created by schools, and we need to create a culture where innovation is just in the water of the schools. We are open to taking risks and trying new things, and what works, we double down on, and what doesn't work, we commit to fixing. That's the spirit of innovation that will allow teachers to get on board, staff members to get on board, and then it hits the students with full force, and they embrace this new model.