Change is Hard, part 75,568

Elena Silva has a good post at the Quick and the Ed on how emotions and rationality interplay when dealing with system change and applies the theories in this book to education.  She concludes:

“[People] see things in certain ways based on what they know and feel. More importantly, even if we could strip ourselves of our ideologies, or put them aside long enough to make decisions based on objective evidence alone, we would chart a course that would again ignore [our emotional motivations].”

That’s probably right, and she goes on to say there’s an “easy message” for ed reform inherent, namely that harnessing the emotions/motivations of educators is crucial for reform.

The message might be easy, but the execution is really freaking hard.  You’re never going to get everyone to agree how change happens, even once folks agree that change is necessary.  In the book Disrupting Class there’s a great matrix that outlines the different strategies that leaders can use when “extent to which people agree on what they want” and “extent to which people agree on cause and effect” are misaligned within a group or organization.  I’m working on getting a link to an electronic version of the matrix, stay tuned.  Short story: even when there’s alignment, change is hard.

3 Responses to Change is Hard, part 75,568

  1. Pingback: Leadership Matrix « Meeting the Turnaround Challenge

  2. Yes, change is freaking hard. And The Turnaround Challenge is perhaps the best exposition of it.

    I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but Justin, so much of what you say now is the antithesis of the best wisdom in the Turnaround Challenge. I think you approached an explanation with your statement in a different context

    “A smart friend of mine remarked that debates tend to become ideological when “Means” are privileged over “Ends.””

    No!!! Debates become ideological when the end justifies the means. The best example is Michelle Rhee, and her tactics, and that is why she must be repudiated by people of good faith who seek sustainable reform. You shouldn’t even try to meet the unquestionably valid end of firing ineffective teachers by means of questionable legality. You shouldn’t even try to use VAMs for evaluations until there are years of refinements, and if those theories they are based on do not work out, they should be repudiated.

    Silva’s post was great. The fundamentals of improved teaching and learning, I believe, are emotional. That being said, I came to the urban classroom from academia, and I loved the values and the process of scholarship. It worries me that so much of the RttT is not research-based, and is swimming against the thrust of social science.

    Justin, if I understand correctly, you came from a reform tradition that borrowed heavily from a progessive version of the Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove 1990s version of political hardball. I can understand that. Spin is one thing, but your former colleauges were awfully comfortable with publishing untruths. In opposing unions for instance, political hardball is one thing. But too many of your school of reform are too willing to take their opponents’ kness out i.e. place the ends above the means.

  3. Pingback: What is The Turnaround Challenge about? « Meeting the Turnaround Challenge

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