Planning Good Change - Page 22 - Next Page

First Things First

When it comes to teachers learning and valuing the effective use of new technologies, some schools are discovering that the kinds of training programs offered in the past may not represent the most generative method of reaching a full range of teachers and their students. The key term is "generative" - meaning that behaviors and daily practice will be changed for the better as a consequence of the professional development experience.

Fortunately, some schools are now identifying approaches more likely to encourage teachers to employ these technologies on a frequent and sustained basis to enhance student learning.

Lead districts are finding that adult learning, curriculum development projects and informal support structures are proving powerful in promoting recurrent use aimed at deep curriculum integration.

After two decades of providing software classes to teachers, we need to explore different approaches – those honoring key principles of adult learning while placing both curriculum and literacy ahead of software and technology.

Adult learning strategies are fundamentally different from training strategies and usually more promising because they are tailored to the learning styles, preferences and needs of teachers in ways more likely to win their commitment than the approach more typical of training models.

Becker's research points to the need to do much more than teach technology skills to teachers. We must also convince them of the value of engaging students in problem-based or project based learning with these new tools. One hundred additional hours of learning computer software is not likely to transform traditional teachers into constructivist teachers.

The transformation of teaching styles, preferences and behaviors requires persuasion, learning by experience and the provision of highly personalized learning journeys.

The most effective learning strategies require a change in the ways teachers spend their time and the ways they work together. Frequently we notice how informal support systems, partnerships, teams and collaborative structures may be the most efficacious elements in a broad-based change effort.

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Credits: The photographs were shot by Jamie McKenzie.
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