Live 2 Learn

A few thoughts and ideas

Educators coping with or embracing change – attitudes to learning

For part of my Masters course at QUT I am doing a reflective unit. While doing this I wrote the following. It may be of some interest.

“Many educators, for many reasons, often develop coping mechanisms when faced with innovation and/or change in the educational environment. These teachers repackage, resist or sometimes ignore the change, rather than engaging with the thoughts and actions that need to occur. Some have even been known to ignore the changes that are required with the rationale that if they wait long enough the innovation will either be cancelled or the frequent changes that occur in education will mean that eventually the system will revert to the ‘old way’. Unfortunately, sometimes these educators are right.

The most recent examples can be found in the attitude of some professional educators to the National Curriculum. The National Curriculum is meant to be transformative, however some teachers will attempt to fit existing work-plans into the new curriculum structure rather than reformulate and rethink the learning process that their students need to experience. This will avoid the need for teachers to learn and develop as professional educators and will likely result in stale and ineffective curriculum and poor learning outcomes (or at least unchanged learning outcomes). It is quite likely that the ‘new curriculum’ will then be identified as problematic or ineffective.

The same characteristic of educators’ reaction to change has been evident in the case of embedding ICTs within classroom activity and practice.

Education is, by its nature, conservative. It is often said that teachers ‘teach how they were taught’ – however in the case of the un-reflecting teacher, it is worse than this as they teach how their teachers were taught. Thus, change in education can be slow and often inter-generational, despite a seemingly continuous stream of innovations and policy initiative, new technology and teaching methods. This has been tolerated in the past as the underlying rate of change within industry and society has been relatively slow.

However, in the last two or three decades the rate of social, industrial, international, and just about any other type of change, has been accelerating. Thus, any lack of preparedness of educators to learn and change will only result in the educators and the systems they serve becoming irrelevant in the modern world. Many cases can be cited where this may already have happened.

Thus it becomes imperative that our best learners should be our teachers. I have been lucky enough to work with many of these fabulous educators but our schools feel the effect of the ‘copers’.

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