When deciding what innovation most appealed to me, I wanted to incorporate technology in a way that allowed students to take control of their learning. As we are incorporating more technology in education, many teachers are going about this process in an ineffective way. Students are using more technology throughout the day, but increased technology use is not always increasing student learning engagement. In the past, my classes included project-based learning, but the initial lesson was taught through teacher led instruction. I want to pilot blended learning in my classroom this fall, and continue to grow and extend this concept through the CTE (Career & Technology Education) department and eventually school-wide.
In order to accomplish a goal that you have not previously accomplished you must do things that you have never done before (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012). Many excellent ideas begin with positive intentions for success and are full of energy when developed, but lack stamina for long-term change. Reasons for failure vary; including staff not having the ability to take ownership of the change, not providing proper training, and lack of follow-up or holding staff accountable. When an idea lacks proper implementation, the momentum is quickly lost in the whirlwind of daunting day to day tasks. We have to approach goals in a measurable way that is easy to understand and follow through with accountability. The 4 Disciplines of Execution provides valuable stages in order to successfully implement a goal despite the hectic day to day activities.
5 Stages of Change
Stage 1: Getting Clear
It is important that I communicate to others my plan to implement blended learning into my classes. I want other teachers to have the opportunity to openly have discussions about the importance of allowing students to have a more active role in their learning and being provided with choices through technology. I want to use this year (Fall 2017 - June 2018) that I implement blended learning into my classroom as an opportunity to model and share successes with other colleagues. I want to communicate clearly that technology is a tool to use to improve instruction and provide students opportunities that would not otherwise be possible. One of the biggest obstacles I will face is creating an understanding that we should not be using technology to do the same things that we can accomplish with paper and pencil.
Stage 2: Launch
I want to meet with a team with the CTE department in early May 2018 to discuss the successes of blended learning within my classroom and develop a plan to continue this initiative throughout the department. I will be spending this school year from Fall 2017- June 2018 addressing any struggles head-on in preparation to make for a smooth transition to implement on a broader scale throughout the department. At this first meeting I will also share the successes I have achieved, reflection, and student feedback received. We can discuss any potential problems and ensure there is enough working technology for all classrooms. As a team, we can develop a realistic WIG (Wildly Important Goal), so that we can all take ownership and accountability together.
Stage 3: Adoption
Once expectations have been established to implement blended learning into the CTE department, there will be a lead teacher for each career subject to develop how to include technology into lesson planning. The team will have time to collaborate and develop plans during weekly PLC meetings with the department and continue making needed changes to implement blended learning. In addition to the PLC meetings, the weekly WIG meetings will assist in holding the team accountable while keeping the visual scoreboard current. When implementation becomes easier and teachers begin to see student growth, I hope that the excitement from these changes pursues. Eventually with successful progress, the ultimate goal is to extend the plan school-wide, this is where the team leaders will be an asset assisting with other departments to communicate struggles and successes.
Stage 4: Optimization
In this stage, teachers will have been able to shift their mindset in realization that these results have made a difference in students lives (McChesny, Covey, & Huling, 2012). I believe this is the stage where teachers will begin to understand the changes, and feeling comfortable with implementation. This is where teachers will be able to get into a groove of how to communicate in WIG meetings and how this process has created consistent changed behaviors. I am hopeful that in this stage resistant teachers will begin understanding the importance of this process and benefits of proper implementation of technology.
Stage 5: Habits
When forming a new habit it feels awkward and foreign, but eventually it begins to feel so automatic that you can't remember life without these changes. I am hopeful at this stage that the changes become so seamless and automatic that teachers have not only achieved the goal but surpassed it. During WIG meetings we are all working together for one common goal, using technology to improve student learning. To accomplish this level of automation and comfortably it is important to use the following disciplines to create long-term change.
The Four Disciplines of Execution
Discipline 1: Focus on the WIG (Wildly Important Goal)
When you work on too many goals it is the same as working on none of them, because the energy put into each one is so little, that any change is insignificant (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012) I have found this statement to be profound, because when you focus on too many goals it becomes too overwhelming and you end up doing nothing. In the first year, I will be the only one involved with implementation. My WIG goal is to use technology at least 25% of the lessons allowing options for students to choose how to receive information at their own pace, with peer collaboration, experimental and problem-based learning by June 2018. This will translate to at least one lesson per week. This percentage may appear low, but I will have to completely revamp their lessons from scratch to achieve this goal. After the piloting this in my classroom, I will work with the CTE department in May 2018 to develop a similar goal. We will work together to create a WIG together so that each team member a take ownership of this goal.
The lag measure is the measurement of the results of what you are trying to accomplish. When you have the data to reflect the lag measure, the result has already happened (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012) The lag measure is easy to define and measure, it either was accomplished or was not accomplished. For blended learning the lag measure is developing a weekly lesson plan 100% of the time that incorporates blended learning and implementing by the end of the week. This goal allows flexibility to create an applicable lesson and develop this anytime during the week. In order to hold myself accountable for this, there will need to be lead measures put in place.
Discipline 2: Act on Lead Measures (Launch and Adoption)
The lead measures are more challenging than the lag measure to launch because they can be difficult to define. The lead measures are the actions that make the lag measure happen, “the how” that needs to take place to accomplish the lag goal. The first lead behavior is meeting with the team for weekly WIG meetings 95% of the time. This will be a time when teachers can collaborate lessons they have created, discuss struggles, and proper implementation. The lead goal is at 95% because it occurs at the same time every week, so occasionally a teacher may be unavailable to attend. However, that teacher will be held accountable to seek out information discussed in the WIG meeting.
To develop confidence and consistency within the team I want to pair up teachers to hold each other accountable. I plan to pair up teachers that work well together and can compliment each others strengths and weakness with their confidence of curriculum and technology. Pairing teachers together will lighten the workload and build confidence. The hope is that this strategy will move a resistor teacher who may not initially be on board to accept and understand the importance of the WIG. The lead goal is to check-in with their teacher teammate once a week to problem solve any potential problems for that week, and provide support. I believe this lead goal will add another level of accountability and support for the teachers. These are the goals that I anticipate implementing, but will not truly be able to exactly define these until the initial meeting with the team is held. When the goals are developed and finalized in the initial meeting I am hopeful that this foundation provides enough teachers support for them to take ownership and control of these goals.
Discipline 3: Keep a Compelling Scoreboard “People give less than their best and finest effort if no one is keeping score---it’s just human nature” (McChesney, Covey, & Huling, 2012) One of the best ways to hold others accountable is to have a visual representation of continued progress through a scoreboard. I have created a rough idea of what will work best with the team and keep us on track and motivated. I plan to have these weekly posted in the relevant classrooms, so that teachers and students are aware of the progress. The have created 3 different visual representations that will quickly and easily explain progress. Table: This visual aid will show weekly progress in comparison with other teachers. Once the teacher inputs the number of times they have implemented blended learning that week, the number will automatically be color coded. Green = Above and Beyond Red = Needs improvement
Weekly Update: This is a line graph that indicates progress for that week and previous weeks. This visualization will help show continued progress compared to other teachers.
Race: This is a long-term scoreboard that shows how they are progressing throughout the semester. The idea is to recognize that although the goal is to accomplish one blended learning lesson per week, it is also important that the end of semester goal should meet or exceed one per week.
Discipline 4: Create a Cadence of Accountability I have already discussed the changes I will be implementing into my classroom with administrators and will include my WIG into my T-Tess goals, which is the system teachers are yearly evaluated. One thing that will be imperative to continue accountability will be to extend my WIG to staff, instructional coaches, and students. One day a week during my conference I will plan out the lesson that will be incorporated with blended learning. Every Friday will be the day that I will model blended learning in my classroom. I believe that setting the same day every week will hold me accountable, and also get the students involved with my goal.
I want to get as much information, feedback, and trouble shoot as much possible throughout this year, so that when I extend this plan to the CTE department, I hope that obtaining valuable information will prevent struggles and provide helpful information of what worked and what did not work. Once the roll-out continues to the CTE department we will weekly meet and discuss that weeks progress. This will be an excellent time to meet for 15-20 minutes to cover weekly accomplishments. As department head, I will lead the meetings and consistently cover the following agenda each week. I plan to turn the agenda into a poster to hang up during the meeting to keep us on track.
What did you accomplish this week?
What were your struggles and successes? (review scoreboard)
What is our plan this week to accomplish this week's goal?
The Influencer vs. 4DX
The Influencer model and the 4DX are structured differently but they work together well. I believe you can interweave them both in order to get the best results when creating change despite the whirlwind. The Influencer model focuses on paying attention to behaviors and emotions, where the 4DX is a more direct simplified approach to prevent goals getting lost in the day to day activities. I believe in using these two models effectively together I will have the ability to focus on creating change from many different directions, and holding teachers accountable through a weekly meeting and scoreboard. I predict the most challenging obstacle will be to continue the WIG through the entire year despite the chaos of the whirlwind. With these strategies in place from both models, I am confident that implementing blended learning will be challenging but achievable.
Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education McChesney, C., Covey, S., & Huling, J. (2012). The 4 disciplines of execution: Achieving your wildly important goals. New York, NY: Free Press.