When trying to deliver CPD or implement any changes, I have found teachers loosely fit into 3 types of attitude. The Will dos, the Will nots and the don't cares. The Will dos will be positive. They will be enthusiastic about almost anything - annoyingly almost anything. They include the people who genuinely believe in the changes but also people jumping on the bandwagon. They will say such phrases as: 'Any change is good change' or 'Well, [insert prominent name] said it so it must be true for us' or 'SLT are bringing in these changes so we have to just go along with it'. They include the people who don't think for themselves, or at least not enough to provoke any serious reflection. However, they're not the people I want to blog about.

The will nots will be openly negative, unmovable forces of antagonism, the world will change before they do. They will be heard, usually at inappropriate times, saying such comments as: 'I've been doing this for long enough to know what works and what doesn't'. The teacher doesn't even need to be old or experienced to come out with, 'I don't understand why we should be told, it's not like they even teach'. In my mind, if you can reach them then that's great, but they're not the people I want to blog about.

I'm interested in the don't cares. In my experience, there are a lot more don't cares than I ever appreciated. If I ever went into a school and saw 100% of heads nodding, I knew there was a problem. I'm interested in them because they have disenfranchised themselves with the system. They're not just all the traditional, unmovable, geriatric corpses of teachers in the school. They're not the people who have never and will never get on board with change. It's not even the people who think they know best. It's the people who have tried to change their practice, get onboard with the newest initiative but have become apathetic regarding the million-and-one things they have to sit through during CPD. Ironically, I have found that they are the people with the biggest value to the school. They have the attitude of continuity in a changing world of education. If you can win them over on something, genuinely win them over, then almost always that initiative will be successful.  To finish the trend, they will say such things as: 'These assistant heads and deputy heads come with their show stopper changes but they leave within 2 years and we are left to pick up the pieces', or they'll say 'During INSET they cite Ofsted here, Ofsted this and frequently cry "What about when Ofsted come?". Over time, the don't cares just got disinterested.

The don't cares were once the Will dos but people taking INSET and staff meetings have ground down their love for pedagogy by introducing: 'The newest initiative that will change everything' or 'The newest thing Ofsted is looking for'. Is it marking? Is it planning? Is it teaching? Well I'd imagine they're interested in all of those.

You might say, well I don't want those types of people in my school. You might say they're job is to do as I say, well it is but good luck changing anything with that attitude. You might say, well as long as my INSET reaches a few people it will start to improve practice - that's defeatist, don't you want it to reach everyone? I want to blog about the ways you can get on-board the teachers who will go along with every change but deep down close their classroom door and do it their own way.

No amount of bulldozing is going to work

It doesn't matter how much Dweck you knock their close-mindset with, or how much Williams you assess their apathy by, you're never going to see any visible Hattie learning from them. If you start pacing up and down bringing Teach like a Champion to life, you'll get nothing but rolled-eyes and a hand moving closer to the pile of muffins. But to you they'll nod, agree with you, smile and change nothing - it'll infuriate you even further.

Use a sieve

We've all done it, you watch a video, read a brilliant book and your mind is swimming with the way you're a changed practitioner, angels are singing from above - you just can't wait to try it out. Everyone has their opinion on education (hey I'm surprised you've even read it this far). Why are there are millions of different voices on how to teach? Because no one can give an answer for every school. Each school is organic, it changes by the people who work and learn there. What works for someone else, regardless of sometimes overwhelming research, doesn't work for all. Win over the don't cares by not announcing every time you get a 'holy grail' moment and pass everything through a sieve.

Continuous, purposeful, digestives (CPD)

INSET and training should be looking for continuity. John Hattie identifies teachers as being the single biggest variable for good learning. What's one of the best ways to destroy this variable - destroy moral. Announcing that from this day forth we shall rise above the shackles, turn our backs on the past for it was not worthy. For the don't cares, you might as well play Lion King's Circle of Life, because every few years INSETs seem to revive that ethos. Within your opening statement you've got whispers of, "Thank you hot shot, put a lot of effort into last year."

I've been to a few schools where you've needed to bring about a lot of change, but there are other ways of doing it. Bring about big changes but take the staff with you at the same time. Engage the change from the point of view of continuity. Identify teachers you've seen where practice has been brilliant and use their example to ignite change. Blame senior leadership where appropriate, nothing raises moral like a good old fashioned own-up. Do it from within what was already there. It wins moral and doesn't widen the 'Them and Us' gap any further.  

Purposefulness. You'll win them over with leadership, not playing to every whim of Ofsted. Show how you're doing this for the children and don't mention anything other than your overwhelming belief in what you're doing. True passion speaks volumes. If your changes are to show you're 'doing something' or a way to exert your own ambition then the don't cares will cut through it. Some schools do need big changes, but I have found if you take the time to win the staff by putting children at the center, you'll win their classroom.

Digestion and not just to allow time for the digestives to settle. You've got to accept that it takes time. You have to allow time for discussion and opinions to be thrashed out. If you're bringing in an new initiative for the right reason and it is sound policy then don't be afraid to let the teachers discuss its merits and short-comings. I don't mean a classic example of, discuss on your tables what you think of this new policy that I've clearly spent ages on and if you even think of raising a negative point I shall shove a negative point of my own so far up your... Be the person clearly willing to trust teacher judgement and opinion, make changes to your policy there and then to encourage honest discussion. I don't see why CPD should be the only area of school where 'Chalk and talk' is still default. Over lunch, allow for digestion of both food and changes.

So, if you're thinking about what to do during your INSET at the start of term and you've been riled up over the summer by all of the talk on twitter, blogs, books or videos you've had the time to finally watch, think about the types of people you have to pitch it to in your school. Do you want nodding dogs or do you actually want to win them over. In my experience it is powerful when you take the time to think about the different types of people you have in your school and how to pitch it to them. Don't be happy just pitching to the will dos. Don't be happy just complaining about the will nots afterwards. And don't forget about the don't cares. Don't bulldozer your way through, use a sieve, win them over and remember Continuity, purposefulness and Digestives - I mean Digestion.

 


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