Change – Start a Ripple

Miguel Guhlin in his post Pearls On A String, approaches the issue of initiating education reform by advocating for change in each one of us as opposed to trying to – “effect change across complex organizations.” I agree. At this point I’d be thrilled to help elicit change in even a few teachers.

This really is how change gets started. The “ripple effect.” Try something you are passionate about. If it works, and works consistently others will be drawn to your work.

For new ideas to really be valuable they need to have some level of transference. Can others be successful using your technique (even if they have to tweak it to match their style)? If it works for you – truly works for you but others can’t reproduce your result, that doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable – it’s just not going to work for others or lead to change in others. But if it does work for others and they start doing it and are successful, you’ve made a difference for that group. If the group is successful then there’s the possibility that others will be drawn in and maybe, just maybe it will grow from there.

It seems that in today’s education climate you tend to have those that “follow-the-program” either because they embrace it or because they can cruise that way or are just too tired of bucking the system. So if you can make headway in a new way you’ll get some of those to come along. At least in my little corner of NCLB-land I’m seeing a little light that just might allow me to again try some things instead of having to completely stifle them not just because I’d “get in trouble” but the onus has been that your principal and school and other teachers could all get caught up negatively in your experiment.

So I’m with Miguel. I’ll do what I can to change things and see what kind of ripple I can get started.

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