Friday, August 31, 2012

2012-2013 Reboot

One of my favorite things about being an educator is having the opportunity to reboot at the beginning of each new school year.  Along with starting the academic year with a clean slate, I make a few resolutions regarding my professional practice, giving myself permission to think outside of the box and try new things in order to more effectively reach my students, support other teachers, enhance my skills set, and keep things interesting.

While these new beginnings are exciting and my commitment to a refreshed approach to my professional life is strong, I often find myself falling back into old habits.  In spite of my best intentions, the changes I implement don’t stick and I am left wondering, “Why is change so hard?”

The Heath brothers address this issue in their book entitled Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.  After conducting research, they conclude that change is difficult because it is exhausting.  Breaking an old habit or creating a new one requires an inordinate amount of self control as we make efforts to avoid falling back into our old routines.  These efforts, in turn, tax our limited energy supply.  To view a short video that brings their thoughts to life, check out this link.  Thanks to these print and video resources, I now understand why sticking to my back to school resolutions has always been so difficult.  

In addition to sharing their enlightening work regarding the difficult nature of change, Chip and Dan Heath also posit several life changing suggestions in their book including the following:  
  1. Tweak the Environment:  When your circumstances change, your behavior naturally follows.  So adjust your environment to set yourself up for success.  
  2. Build Habits:  Habitual behaviors don't require energy, so find ways to encourage habit formation.  
  3. Rally the Herd:  Behavior is contagious, so surround yourself with others with similar goals and objectives.

Armed with this perspective on change and a few strategies for making change stick, I look forward to realizing successful change during the 2012-2013 rebooting process!

by: Courtney Cadwell, STEM Instructional Coach

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