Organizational change was defined within the parameters of differences in status, form, or quality over time (Van de Ven & Poole, 1995, as cited in Van de Ven & Sun, 2011). In their own definition of organizational change, Herold and Fedor (2008, as cited in Seo, Shin, & Taylor, 2012) focused rather on the “alterations of existing work routines and strategies” (p. 727) and their impact on the people who experience them as part of the organization itself. Change implies modification, adaptation, evolution, learning, often struggle, and just as often, rewards.
I resonated with the teleological model proposed by Van de Ven and Sun (2011). “A teleology or planned change model views development as a repetitive sequence of goal formulation, implementation, evaluation, and modification of an envisioned end state based on what was learned or intended by the people involved” (Van de Ven & Sun, 2011, p. 61). The cyclical setting of goals, implementation, assessment, and adaptation resonates with how change is approached in my current institution. Special attention and care are dedicated to giving a voice to all stakeholders, especially in the goal setting and assessment stages, which supports the institution’s core values of respect, appreciation, and open-mindedness.
Any leader who has tried to implement change at a given moment, be it a significant change or a minor one, knows that the way one envisions change and the way change is perceived by those who have to experience it and live with it may be very different. Thus, I learned early on as a novice leader that people need certain steps to be taken by the leadership, to prepare the ground and the stakeholders for the introduction and the implementation of change. Here are 4 aspects that I always try to consider, to help our employees not only accept, but also embrace change.
Change is never easy, but change is inevitable, and it is its unavoidable nature that makes it exciting.
Brown Brené. (2018). Dare to lead: brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. New York: Random House.
Shin, J., Taylor, M. S., & Seo, M.-G. (2012). Resources for change: the relationships of organizational inducements and psychological resilience to employees’ attitudes and behaviors toward organizational change. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 727–748. https://doi.org/10.5465/amj.2010.0325
Sinek, S. (2011). How great leaders inspire action. [TED Talk].Retrieved October 11, 2019, from https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.
Van de Ven, A. H., & Sun, K. (2011). Breakdowns in implementing models of organization change. The Academy of Management Perspectives, (3), 58. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=edsgea&AN=edsgcl.267864968&site=eds-live&scope=site
Each well-established school should go through a regular, periodic curriculum review cycle. We are currently in the process of revising the Standards, Can Do Statements, and Learning Targets for our Mandarin as a Foreign Language track. They are a vast set of statements, inspired by the ACTFL Standards and Proficiency Guidelines.
During a Curriculum Work Session, all our Mandarin teachers engaged in a thorough revision of all our guiding statements, in an effort to ensure that they are still accurate, that they match within the different categories, and that they promote authentic communication.
Next steps would be to make the necessary changes and adjustments, based on the team's findings and on latest research and best practices in language acquisition. The journey to improvement leads sometimes up a sinuous pathway, and it never really ends!
Our school has five School-Wide Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that describe the profile of our learners. They are:
* Insightful Learners
* Effective Communicators
* Principle-Centered Leaders and Team Members
* Active Global Citizens
* Reflective Spiritual Beings.
Recently, we spent a full work session working with our Mandarin language teachers to unpack each of these SLOs and the way they reflect in our teaching, learning and assessing in language classes. These are such universal statements, that they can translate easily in any subject, at any grade level. Our teachers used the thinking routine See-Think-Wonder designed by Harvard's Project Zero to explore the illustrations, descriptions, and possibilities related to these profiles. They commented on how efficient and successful this simple tool was, and how it allowed them to analyze each SLO more in depth. I can add that simplicity is often the key to effectiveness.
Great learning has happened at the International Community School Singapore, where Jaime Thomas and I shared theories, ideas and strategies for working with English Language Learners in international school settings. We discussed topics like building empathy, second language acquisition, social vs. academic language, vocabulary development, differentiation and scaffolding.
We got to work with a group of young and energetic teachers, who aimed to better understand and support the ELLs in their classes.
We also got to experience a snapshot of a consultant's job and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It's definitely something we consider pursuing further.
I recently came across a great collection of EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH SUMMARIES, and I found them to be a wonderful resource for anybody who is interested in learning more about research-based educational findings of demonstrated value.
Check them out here: research summaries on www.teacherhead.com. By the way, this teacher's blog is worth a shout-out.