Leading cultural change in schools

Jane Kise said “There are no reluctant teachers, just those whose needs in the change process have not yet been met.”

When implementing changes (new software, a change in documentation or resourcing, new requirements to meet) I’ve found these strategies helpful.

1. Collaborate and consultate

Let staff be part of the decision making process. If you know the end point but the path doesn’t matter, then let them come up with ideas of how to get there. Give staff ownership and let them work on the how, when and where ince you’ve given the why.

2. Explain it, model it, sell it.

Similar to teaching metacognitive strategies to students, this works well when there is no choice but to move in a particular direction and you want 100% of staff with you.

We wanted to change our science risk assessments and practical booking to an online system rather than paper, and we wanted to do it within a term. So at a staff meeting we explained it, outlined the benefits and sold it as the best option. It was modeled in person, through video tutorials, with a written documentation guide and face to face help was made available too. After a couple of weeks trial, we rolled it out across the faculty and had 100% uptake.

3. Relationships.

People are more likely to do what you ask of them if you have a good relationship with them.

4. Allow time. Build in support and check in.

Change fatigue is real. Sometimes you just need to go slow, talk lots, give as much support as possible and make sure that all the needs of your staff are being met before they’ll join in.

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