« The Science of Teaching | Main | Virtual Schools as a Support for Face 2 Face Rather than a Replacement »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Leading staff through change can be one of the most challenging endeavors. A strong school improvment model can assist you in this process as long as your staff members were involved in the process so that you get "buy-in" from at least a majority of the staff.


"Leading members of your team through the process of changing their attitudes, values or behaviors is probably one of the hardest parts of the work we do as principals and superintendents."

Because it is futile. Are their attitudes wrong? What kind of fascism allows you to assume that you can/should change these people, or that they need changing? Maybe you leaders need to change your attitude?

Glenn E. Malone

Thanks for the comments!

I agree with The Frustrated Teacher's comment, "Maybe you leaders need to change your attitude?"

Here's what Heifetz says on his CLA website, "Adaptive challenges are usually fuzzy and hard to identify clearly. They involve changing hearts and minds and often are championed by someone who cares, but who may not have the authority to impose change. Adaptive challenges imply having to learn new ways and choose between what appear to be contradictory values. They cannot be "managed," but must be confronted and dealt with honestly."

Even as a teacher I saw attitudes and behaviors that needed changing, sometimes they was mine. As A principal I see colleagues and superintendents that need attitudes and behaviors changed, again sometimes it's mine.

My experience has shown that to do this work, to lead this work, is the most difficult you'll ever do as a principal or superintendent. Adaptive work promotes second order change. Great leaders recognize the need for this type of change and know how to make it happen.

Kim Seifferly

It may not be that we need to change individual belief systems, but we may need to challenge them. Often times, individuals have formulated options based on limited experience. Getting people to talk about what they believe in a secure setting of colleagues can be uncomfortable at times, but worthwhile in the long run. Through discussion, we open our eyes to other options and often may change, or not, what we think and believe.

Z. Seidenberg

Change is slow! We must provide the time for staff to "complain, get argry arguing that "they are teaching the concept and it's the students who are not appling themselves." As you take the staff through the process of looking at the item anaylsis, the test questions, the vocabulary, etc. They will begin to see where they need to work together to make change happen. It is a grassroots change not an administative change. Good luck!


Z. Seidenberg, your post is not grammatically correct, so I am unsure of its meaning; are you suggesting that teachers do not realize they need to work together to make change happen? And, are you also suggesting that all kids can learn all concepts, and if they don't, it is the fault of the teachers?

If you are saying these 2 things, you are a major part of the problem with education in America!

Heidi Hass Gable

Glenn - good for you for committing to the struggle of change! It's so much easier to throw your hands up and focus on what's wrong, or to get stuck in trying to FORCE people to do things. To be open to people's needs and emotions is much bigger and takes courage!

I think a really big piece of this kind of leadership is personal authenticity - I wrote about it recently here: http://www.iwasthinking.ca/2008/10/31/who-we-are-together/

And I also think it takes your relentless commitment to the larger purpose that we're all involved in schools for - to help every child thrive (and trust that the math scores go up as part of that "package"!)

I'm the president of the parent group in my District and am working hard to involve parents to help support teachers and change in our schools. Have you involved your community in your conversations? Are they included in your school goal planning or "vision" conversations? That's a huge group that can be mobilized by your common purpose - because EVERY parent wants their child to succeed. In fact, if you help parents understand how they can be involved in order to support their children most effectively - they will move mountains!

Check out the video I've created and am using to start conversations between parents and teachers/administrators: http://www.iwasthinking.ca/2008/09/19/what-i-want-for-my-children/

Thank you for caring!

The comments to this entry are closed.

About this blog