It is not easy to change a habit in general. In the classroom environment, it is darn near impossible. Between unchanging environmental cues, tenure, and stress the habits of teachers are cemented into place. So, expecting teachers to change a practice because we told them to is naïve. Believing that threats and memos will get “lazy” teachers to do something different borders on stupidity.
What we all must accept is that changing the instructional habits of teachers is a team effort. Teacher and coach (leadership); and it starts with the coach (leadership).
As the coach, I first have to narrow the focus of change to a specific practice. Second, I have to provide a high volume of in classroom cues for the teacher to attempt the new practice. Third, I can’t be mad if when I visit the classroom, unscheduled, the teacher isn’t doing the targeted practice at that time. Fourth, I have to recognize that a teacher attempt that resembles the targeted practice is a win.
Then, only if leadership has engaged as described, all the teacher has to do is respond to the cue with an honest attempt to implement the targeted practice.
Put this process in place 15 to 30 times in a span of about six weeks and guess what you have?
A shiny new instructional practice in classrooms. Isn’t it pretty?
Think. Work. Achieve.
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