Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Challenge of Change Management: Teachers As Agents of Change-Part I

I hate to use cliches but permit me just this one! The "elephant in the room" is change management. No matter how well we design innovative courses that are irresistibly engaging to students and how effectively we use sound pedagogy that is in synch with the new technologies, it is all for naught if we can not explain how these things can be implemented effectively. I think that the first point to remember is what is at stake. Remember the following graphic?

Although this graphic is somewhat dated, the model behind it is still the model that the school systems are operating under. The industrial model of education has had far reaching effects on education as a whole from dictating how teachers should be trained in education faculties to how students should be assessed. From the point of view of this model, the purpose of education is to train students to be efficient workers and life-long consumers. In the time when it was created, it served societies well because the wealth of nations were dependent upon this model. However, the needs of the world have changed and now this model is at odds with what is in the best interests of our societies. The technological age and the post information age have given education a new purpose. That purpose is to be a force of change in our societies and students are to be the creators of new knowledge and skills that will build a culture of great innovation.

Change is not optional but is in fact essential to the 21st century. It will contribute not only to a purposeful, engaging and sustained deeper learning for students but will also contribute to the wealth of nations as students become the new architects of the future we will all live in. In order for them to accomplish such change, they need teachers who are willing to become explorers, innovators and mentors who will guide them in the process of learning to learn in a brand new context. Teachers are instrumental as change agents.

One of the current problems with technology and students has actually two parts:
  1. The digital world of students, based upon current research, is largely outside schools, and
  2. It is essentially undisciplined--all over the multi-tasking map( Stratosphere-Michael Fullan-2013)
Item #2 above is the reason that teachers as change agents are so crucial to the development of this new purpose of education. However, what have I really told you? I have explained the need is there and the time is ripe. What I haven't told you is how the work life of teachers in this new vision is going to be much better, more rewarding in many ways and will produce a chain reaction that will lead to positive benefits for all of our societies. That will be the focus of my next posting....

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