Magazine article The Learning Professional

Successful Implementation Doesn't End at the Beginning of a New Initiative

Magazine article The Learning Professional

Successful Implementation Doesn't End at the Beginning of a New Initiative

Article excerpt

In March, I attended the Celebration of Teaching and Learning, a twoday conference for educators in New York. Teachers, state and district leaders, and national experts gave presentations on reform initiatives facing our schools and districts today: Common Core State Standards, teacher evaluation systems, college and career readiness initiatives, and STEM education, among others. As I talked with participants and noted questions and comments from teachers and administrators, a common refrain emerged: "These are critically important reforms, but what supports will be in place to help me understand and implement these new changes?"

This question reminded me of my experiences as a classroom teacher and teacher leader and the challenges of implementing innovations. As a high school biology teacher, I participated in the National Academy for Curriculum Leadership to support Boston's adoption of inquiry-based science curriculum. A shift to inquiry-based teaching represented a significant change for many classroom teachers, both at my school and in the district. How could we ensure that this inquiry approach would be implemented successfully?

We used the Concerns-Based Adoption Model to plan professional learning (Hord, Rutherford, Huling- Austin, & Hall, 1987). The Concerns- Based Adoption Model helped us plan for different levels of need. Teachers would face certain challenges in the early stages and others down the line. Many teachers would begin with selforiented concerns ("How will this new approach affect me?") before they could focus on instructional tasks ("How do I use these new materials and approaches?"). Only then could teachers start thinking about impact ("How is this approach affecting student results?"). Once teachers had a general awareness and an understanding of inquiry, we could engage in ongoing sessions that would help them address management questions and delve deeper into how student materials fit into the overall curriculum. …

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