Why do we Need Future-ready Learning?
Education has not changed to keep pace with the change happening outside the classroom. This teacher would recognise a modern day classroom…
…much more than this surgeon would recognise a modern day operating theatre.
The Journey to Future-ready Learning
Change involves jumping from the known to the unknown and taking others on the journey with you.
You need to build a vision, understanding and capacity
You need to start by explaining what the change needs to happen. Give people time to process.
Be prepared to explain many times. The marketing rule of 7 says we need to explain at least 7 times before people fully engage and understand.
Understand that one size does not fit all. Messaging needs to be varied to meet different needs and styles of communication.
So you need to know your audience. Know the difference between what teachers will want to know and what parents or the Board will want to know. Know teachers as individuals so you can shape the message to match their needs.
It is key to understand that change is very hard for most people…
…and that emotions will be involved.
Teachers’ personal and professional identity is more intertwined than that of other professionals and telling them they need to change can be taken as a personal affront. Ensure that you value what has gone before.
There is an innovation curve. Not everyone will come on board straight away. That is normal. Likewise some will never come on board and may have to leave the school eventually.
Change is messy at first so don’t expect it to be otherwise. If it is not messy then you are not going far enough! Resist the temptation to wait until you have it all figured out or to be too prescriptive about what it should look like. Embrace the messiness. It is a healthy part of the process.
Change of this kind involves risk. As a leader, you need to model risk taking for others…
…and create an environment where people are celebrated for trying and failing. Fail often and fail well. Model failure by sharing your failures openly.
Share your fears about the change process with staff and provide opportunities for them to share their own fears. This can be transformational.
Discuss together with staff the opportunities that will come from the change process. Humans are naturally self-centred and need to know what is in it for them. Shape what opportunities might look like.
Innovation may already be happening in pockets around the school. Identify and celebrate what is working well and consider together as a team how you can do more of this. Grow the movement from the grassroots. Use an Appreciative Inquiry approach to value and build upon what is already happening.
Build leadership capacity especially among middle leaders to ensure everyone is able to lead change effectively. Balance grassroots development, allowing everyone to lead out, with top down structures and support for innovation. At CDNIS we have appointed a Leader of Making and Innovation to identify key drivers among the staff and harness their talents. We have also implemented middle leader training focused on building strong teams and change leadership.
Emphasise and invest in opportunities for collaboration. Drawing on the skills in the building, finding out what passions people have. Find ways to share these through voluntary PLCs and share PD sessions. At CDNIS we have staff led WeShare sessions 3-4 times per year and our PLCs are growing. We do not mandate PLCs as we feel this is counterproductive.
Provide support in the form of PD opportunities internally and externally. Invest in whole school PD in key areas. At CDNIS w have trained all teachers and EAs in the use of tools and materials to support making. We have invested in whole school PD in Project Based Learning. Invest in staff with specialist skills. At CDNIS we have a Coding and Robotics Teacher to support our one-to-one robot programme.