If you want educational change to stick, give it time


This week my school will be launching its public portal, which gives parents and students greater access to information about learning in our school. As the leader of this project, I have begun to reflect on a journey that has lasted 2 years plus in getting to this point.

What has struck me most has been how welcoming so many have been to the change. Of course, there is still some fear and trepidation of what additional transparency brings in terms of teachers receiving more inquiries from parents about grades, feedback and specific advice for their child’s learning.

Such changes in education, such as being more transparent and opening up communication channels, can lead to significant resistance on the part of a teaching staff. In this instance, I am questioning why there is so little resistance and objection.

I could assume that my colleagues are indifferent about this change or they are too busy to notice it. Probably not but they may be thinking this is just a fad and it shall pass. Again, I do not think so. This change is significant, it exposes them to question. As teachers, with this particular change, we are being made more responsible for the feedback we provide to students and their parents.

This week, I think I stumbled across the answer. By giving my colleagues adequate warning about the change, some 18 months, along with support and regular updates on implementation process, everyone has become familiar with what is going to happen. By allowing the people whom the change effort is dependent upon to become familiar with the change and what it entails, the shift does not appear so big or uncomfortable.

While, I acknowledge, that my hands are still full helping those who are struggling to adapt to the change or have not yet comprehended its importance, the overall process of making this change has felt that much easier because we have taken our time to get it right.

It is important for me to recognize that I have been fortunate to determine the deadlines without pressure from the big boss or external agencies forcing the agenda, but it goes to show that with the right support and a bit of time the process of making necessary and essential change in schools can be just that bit easier. Having some great people to work with makes it that bit more simple too!

photo credit: niseag03 via photopin cc

Published by Richard Bruford

Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology. With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools. Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin. In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: