Thursday, June 30, 2016

Redefining Education, Redefining Ourselves

Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. it is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation or self-redefinition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of the furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won't work, because it doesn't "take".
-- William Bridges, Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes 
This quote hangs in my office as a daily reminder that we must honor the transition process if we truly desire authentic change.

it is hard to imagine a change in education that does not directly impact kids and teachers. Whether it's a new resource, structural or environmental shifts, or a different teaching method, both kids and teachers have to process the transition that the change brings, even when it is a desired change. Moreover, it may require that kids and teachers redefine themselves and their relationships with each other -- not necessarily an easy thing to do.

An example might be if teachers decided to solicit and use student feedback in an action research cycle over the course of a school year to improve student engagement. Assume that both teachers and kids were excited about the project -- there is still a process through which both groups have to transition to new roles, and perhaps even redefine identities that break free of the traditional teacher-student hierarchy. If the status quo paradigm is not shifted, it is likely the innovation will not "take".

Another example might be buying flexible or more "interactive" furniture for your classroom or learning environment. If teacher internal reorientation about he or she might now teach, and student internal reorientation about he or she might now learn, doesn't take place, it is likely that the furniture will end up being used in more traditional settings instead of expanding potential.

As we look to redefine the components of education, we need to pay attention to how we will also internally redefine ourselves. And, we need to make sure that we take the time to allow, support, and nurture that transition.

Join the conversation...
How have you processed the transition for change in your life, either personally or professionally?

Thanks for reading,

P.S. For more on identity and change, click here

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