(TEDx Talks, 2013)
After listening to the video above of Dr. Cross, I have a new understanding of making changes. Every week I seem to be learning something that opposes something I have learned in the past! Common sense is one of those intangible qualities that help people succeed, and it was really interesting to hear how it can actually hurt someone trying to make a change. The three myths that education changes behavior, attitudes cause behaviors, and people know what motivates them just seem to make complete sense…until Dr. Cross explained how they can actually hurt a movement.
The more examples I heard the more I realized how ineffective I (and many teachers) have been in trying to reach unsuccessful/combative students. I can’t tell you how many conversations about life, college, success, grades etc I’ve had with struggling students. If they just understand why working hard is important…if they can just realize that learning is fun…if I could just figure out what they want, then everything will work out and they will magically become perfect learners. No wonder it rarely works! I’ve been depending too much on what should work and too little on what really does work.
There are many similarities between Dr Cross’s recommendations and the six sources of influence. Both focus on modeling desired results, making meaningful connections (which will be different depending on the audience!), using social motivation, and identifying and adjusting how the information is presented. These are all going to be very important when it comes to reaching our desired result for our learning ePortfolios: having all teachers utilizing student ePortfolios.
Because we are not currently implementing anything and are just in the initial trial stage during which ePortfolios will be used in Ryan’s, Erin’s and my classrooms, thinking about these key strategies is just speculation. There will be push back from teachers who are uncomfortable with technology. There will be hesitancy due to our schools lack of computer labs and carts. These are the obvious issues that undoubtedly will be mentioned and we will need to address. By including administration in our vital behaviors, we will hopefully add awareness to these issues that will result in other positive changes. Crucial moments, positive deviants, and culture busters will be addressed during classroom visits and usage observations. By making sure our ePortfolio course teachers are available to help struggling teachers, share alternate uses, and maintain positivity, we can use these three strategies as well.
I can clearly see how the social and structural sources of influence are directly related to our plan and specifically addressed in our vital behaviors, but I am unsure about the personal ones. I suppose by using what we will be able to accomplish in this 2016-2017 school year by using the ePortfolio within our classes we will have a starting point for modeling and certain levels of motivation. My concern is that some teachers don’t seem to be motivated by anything. I can’t promise them pay increases. I can’t promise them higher evaluation scores. I just hope that showing them how these learning ePortfolios will help students become lifelong learners will be enough of a motivation.