“Most likely to succeed”

Is change in education most likely to succeed? We are such in a hurry to see it happen that we are ready to do almost anything and pay whatever may be needed to change education NOW!
Edtech entrepreneurs, policymakers, thought leaders share the same urgency –  for different reasons – to make change happen. We built over the years strong research evidence that demonstrate why and how change could happen. We got convinced that evidence was enough to engage teachers and principals in the change process. We forgot some basic questions: Why would they change, who would drive the change, what is the change about?
Designing the change is not an easy path. I asked my friend Yishay Mor a very naive question: how do you engage teachers into change? Remember, he said, “the first step in design is empathy”. Understanding who is your target audience, what are their needs, desires, fears, constraints. Finding them “where they are” and taking them to “where they want to go”.
Urgency makes us believe that “teachers are generically at school” and that it is more important to know “where we want them to go” than “where they want to go”.
Unfortunately designing the change has rules that are difficult to change and that we are prompt to forget. The first one is that “designing for anyone i.e. any teacher” is equivalent to “designing for no one”.
To make change in school most likely to succeed, we must take time to understand what are the concerns of the teachers, how do they learn, exchange, construct knowledge. We must build personas, empathy maps, force maps, transition matrices… that will best reflect what teachers are really into. We must identify their learning instruments: Do they meet? Use whatsapp groups? Facebook? Take courses? Register for MOOCs?
To do that, we must enter the schools, listen to teachers, co create the path with them. A new report on Evidence-informed teaching concluded that “most teachers were unlikely to be convinced by research evidence on its own: they needed to have this backed up by observing impact themselves or hearing trusted colleagues discuss how it had improved their practice and outcomes for young people”.
Teachers need informed debate from the inside. And there are multiple ways to initiate it: a documentary like “Most likely to succeed” can launch a debate as it has been proven in hundreds of schools all over the world. But debate only makes sense in a well-designed and timely framework addressing teacher’s attention, passion, information, knowledge, action, habit, identity.


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