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How can we motivate teachers to see the benefits of adapting and changing to meet the needs of today's students?

I really feel like it's all about support within the teachers' classroom environment.

When introducing new tools or teaching methods to teachers in our school, I believe a good process looks like this:
1) Model Lessons - Admin, curriculum specialist, tech facilitator, or other teacher leaders go to classes and model the tool or strategy with students
2) Coteaching Lessons - Teachers work with above specialist to create a lesson that incorporates the tool or strategy being introduced. Both then execute this lesson with teacher's class(es).
3) Observe Lessons - Specialist observes teacher while they utilize the tools/strategies

After each step, reflection and discussion is a must. Talking about what worked, what didn't work, how the teacher might approach things differently, etc., is crucial to success.

It's also important to note that this should be done with just one tool or strategy at a time! Don't overwhelm teachers with more than one specific item to master at once or else you're bound to fail.

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All right all- I summarized this great conversation into a new Google Doc that I'm going to start using to manage this process:

Great stuff so far!
I was in this position joining a new school in England a while ago - we went for two approaches and i would now add a third.
1) We designated barometer teachers (at first unofficially and then more openly) These were the barometers of where we were as a school in the use of ICT. They were chosen by virtue of being the firs teachers to tell me why they didn't like ICT ("I had the internet drop on me in an observed lesson 8 years ago and I've never trusted it since" and other such comments). In order to move forward these (and other teachers) were given support through coaching and mentoring from teachers and classroom assistants. We also gave children the role of ICT mentors to support lessons, teachers or groups of children - the mentors could only do it in one application and we sought to have a gender balance in those selected. As we moved into a new academic year we tried to ensure that each year group team had a balance of confident and developing usrs of technology and as the member of Senior Management with responsibility for Curriculum Development and ICT I supported the medium and short term planning to ensure that there was a progression in the use of ICT. There was some frustration from the pioneers who wanted to chase the latest development in tools and applications but we moved forward massively together as a school and staff. My proudest moment was after two years when one of the barometer teachers chose to have ICt development as her personal target in her Performance management and used VC and podcasting to great effect.
2) The second strategy was that of JDI - (Just Do IT) - we stressed that there was a moral and professional responsibility to teach what was in the plans even if the teachers didn't like ICT - It is important to stress that ensured that we were seen to do this in other curriculum areas and approaches such as Art and Drama. We didn't accept excuses but instead sought to fill the gaps with support through coaching and mentoring

3) I would (if I was in the same position again) use the lesson study model of Collaborative support so that the support was not as hierarchical. The main reason for this is that some of the teachers who were pioneers could have learned a great deal about effective pedagogies from those they were supporting but were concentrating on the ICT skills whereas lesson study would focus on the pedagogy (guided work, modelling etc) and then look at how ICT could support it.
If we are building a new school for the 21st century and I mean a real physical building not a metaphor for changing education this answer is simple. Hire people who see the benefits from the start. Don't hire people that you will have to retrain. Apple doesn't hire Windows gurus for the Genius Bar and you don't hire a French person to teach Spanish. You hire the converted and don't worry about changing those that don't want to change.

The metaphorical question of changing education as a whole is a big one and there is no easy solution. It has been dealt with before though. When chalkboards were invented, store bought ink was introduced, disposable pens made their debut, calculators, computers, and the Internet, etc... All these were looked at as fads and now they are commonplace. Teachers will adapt or they will be left behind.
I'm coming in way late to this discussion, but I like the idea of using barometer teachers. However, I would choose the teachers most willing to use the new technology who can develop the pedagogy that will bring other teachers from their disciplines on board. I'm at a high school so everything is done by departments. I've found getting willing classroom teachers to discover a new tool through hands-on use leads to them brainstorming about how they would use it in the classroom-- and then the word can spread.

I'm a real "learner by doer" and many teachers are-- once they use a tool themselves then the mystery leaves and they just have to keep using it. We can be there as support for that.



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