21 Feb 2015

Here's a thought: How do the people in your learning community cope with change?

The nature of schools and life in fact, is that there is constant change. You would think as a human race we would be used to it by now with the many changes that have occurred, however I have noticed lately that many people struggle to cope when things change and are unsure of how to deal with it when it arises. 

It got me thinking…... 

How do the people in your learning community cope with change? 

1. When we are forced to go outside our comfort zone it can be difficult not to react in a way that is not helpful or useful. Most people are happiest when they have a sense of certainty and control. When uncertainty creeps in, it is then that a balance needs to be found. Consistency, honesty and communication can assist in providing that balance.

2. Where there is certainty, there is always an opposite; uncertainty. When it comes to school communities, some people may feel uncertain if a teacher leaves or a new Principal is to be appointed. The uncertainty often comes from a fear of the unknown and may be caused by that need for certainty, that everything is going to be ok. How you provide that certainty is crucial in continuing to build trust and prevent unnecessary anxieties.

3. When families or teachers leave a school, some parents begin to feel nervous and uncertain that they have made the right choice for their child. They may begin to wonder why people are leaving and think the worst. It may be as simple as some families are moving house, but the instant reaction may be, 'what is wrong with this school'? Being open and honest with people in the community can alleviate fears and uncertainties when they know the truth.

4. How do teachers feel when they are asked to change the way they teach or are introduced to new ways of thinking? Do they resist and why? What is the cause of this resistance? What do they fear? Guiding and exploring this with them and explaining the value in changing, helps to reduce resistance or anxieties. 

5. Change is inevitable and it is important to remember we are modelling our own reactions to change to the children in our learning communities. How we behave and respond when asked to change and be flexible is being observed and learned by those around us. 

Coping with change is a topic I explore with school Principals, their staff as well as parents and children in learning communities. Developing resilience skills and tools to cope with change should be considered for all members of the learning community. It is often discussed that children need to be taught how to be resilient, however many adults also fear change and may need support in moving through this process. After all, it is the adults around them that children learn from the most.

Weekly Perspective: 
Socrates says, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Contact Rachel on 0419 371 876 to learn more about how Practically Learning can assist you in developing and inspiring a positive learning culture in your school to improve learning outcomes for children.

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