We all know who those teachers are who say that the old way works and they are not changing or have you heard, " I was taught that way and it worked for me so..."? Everyone in education immediately had a face or name that came to mind. As a instructional technology coach, part of my job is trying to get those teachers on board. Our district went to a 1:1 model, so we need everyone on the same train.
While working with teachers and trying to understand my reluctant teachers, I have noticed 3 commonalities.
1. Lack of Knowledge or Understanding
Many teachers don't understand how the technology will fit into their classroom. How does it work? How will they use it? How will the kids react? What will the students try to get away with? Many more questions have come up. A couple of ways we are trying to help with the lack of knowledge.
* Training, training and more training
* Part of that training has to be modeling - show them how it is used
* Listening - listen to what you are actually being asked, not what you think they are asking
*Examples- Make sure you have examples that are relevant to what they teach
Most of the teachers who pushed back, after getting to work with them some you could see that one of the obstacles is fear. They are afraid they wont understand or they wont be able to do it. The number one thing we have done is offer support. We model tools, then help them create something for their class. The last component is that we go into their classes and do side by side with them. We are there and just having someone else in the room seems to make teachers more willing to try. If someone can't be with them when they are trying we get them a "tech buddy teacher". These are teachers in the building that are more tech savvy and are willing to work with the reluctant teachers. We also try to make sure they are close in proximity to each other, that way the teachers know the support is close by.
3. Small Steps
Last but not least we encourage small steps. In our trainings we only show a couple of tools. Then we have the teachers pick only one to begin with. Many times teachers go to trainings or are shown several tools at once and they feel as though they have to learn them all. We preach - one at a time. Our rule of thumb is to use one new tool until you are comfortable and only then will we show you another and repeat the process. It has amazed me to see the relief on teachers faces when we say it and they know we mean it. One website or App is much easier to tackle than three or four.
We all know there will still be teachers that be reluctant and some will all out refuse. Luckily they are in the minority. With patience, understanding and support, you may be amazed at what your teachers will begin to try. In the end it is worth it because the children are the ones getting the benefit.