On day 5 of his week of change, Scott at Dangerously Irrelevant discusses some thoughts on the subject by Dr. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, who he describes as “perhaps our nation’s leading expert on organizational change”.
He includes Kanter’s ten reasons for resistance to educational change and it’s an interesting list.
But I was drawn to her three key factors that motivate change by people in an organization.
High Probability of Success
High Value of the Change
When it comes to dissatisfaction about schools, lots of those on the outside think the education system is pretty screwed up. They don’t know how to fix it (NCLB is prime evidence) but they don’t like what they see.
But when it comes to those of us working on the inside, many administrators, teachers, and parents (who are insiders in this discussion) don’t see much need to change the system.
Sure there’s always talk about modifying the curriculum, tweaking teaching techniques, and lots (LOTS!) about the analysis of student test data.
However, very few want to consider the kind of drastic change to the basic foundations of our education system that is required.
Probably the only group directly involved with the education process who might be dissatisfied with it are the students. And we usually don’t ask them about it.
As to Kanter’s other two factors, they relate directly to the reasons why attempted reforms don’t often result in much change.
Too many teachers, the key group who must commit to any alteration for it to be successful, don’t see a high probability of success or high value, in most major changes over the past several decades.
Possibly because we’ve seen it all before but most likely because we’re way to contented with things the way they are.