The one thing that will change a teacher’s hardened heart

student-group-tablets

Sometimes, as educators, we try to help others see how great things can be if we do them differently. I’ve found that one thing works better than anything else. (Creative Commons photo via Jisc)

At the two schools where I’ve taught in my career, I’ve been branded as the techie teacher. That’s been a good thing and a difficult thing.

It’s been great because students get excited to try some of the experiences they get through technology. It has also opened some great conversations with colleagues about how they can improve instruction.

In my own school and at the many schools I travel to when I present at conferences and workshops, being a techie teacher can be a stigma that’s hard to overcome.

Some teachers’ hearts seem to be hardened to the idea of using technology in their classes. Some are just hardened to trying anything new in their classes.

I have found that there’s one way to reach those teachers with the hardened hearts … one way that seems to work better than anything else.

What I thought for many years that would work doesn’t work as well as this one way. Here are some approaches that I’ve seen (and used myself) that don’t cut it quite as well as this one way

  • Showing the research behind tech integration and certain techniques
  • Demonstrating the awesome features of certain game-changing tools
  • Talking about how an expert has used it somewhere else in the country or world
  • Discussing students’ opinions on using technology and certain sites and apps

All of these have their place (and it’s usually further convincing those that are already bought in to the power of tech in the classroom!).

But they’re not as good as this …

Success stories from your own classroom.

Many times, I’ve found that teachers who are disinterested in change and new ideas don’t care much about the experts. They’ll think it doesn’t apply to their own situation.

They don’t care much about the research. They’ll say there are flaws in the research or that it doesn’t connect to the real world.

They don’t care much about the tech that students want to see. They’ll say that students don’t know what’s best for them anyway and their experience in education overrides.

But if you’re having success — or one of your colleagues in your building or district is having success — that can be powerful to convince even the most cynical. Results prove that something’s working, and seeing those results right at home shows that they’re real and someone isn’t just trying to tell a good story that’s slightly untrue.

On this blog and in my book, I try to do two things — give you practical ways you can teach with less reliance on the textbook AND talk about ways we can ditch the old “textbook” views of education that might not work.

If you’re interested in ditching what doesn’t work — and helping others to ditch it, too — don’t be afraid to share your story. Sometimes we see it as bragging too much or being too self-promoting. Somewhere along the way, educators have decided that they’re best served keeping their good news to themselves.

Spreading our success stories could be our best chance at changing education, though. It’s like what Margaret Mead said (a quote I’ve been coming back to a lot recently): “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

If we want to change education — and, in turn, change the world — we have to tell our stories, show our success, talk about our positive results.

Question: What do you think is our best chance to help cynical, unmotivated teachers change their ways? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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Interested in having Matt present at your event or school? Contact him by e-mail!

Matt is scheduled to present at the following upcoming events:

  Date Event / Event Details City / More Info
+ 01/19/2015
Western Wayne (Ind.) Schools Pershing, IN
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That Textbook: Why and How?Private Event
+ 01/31/2015
9:00-12:00 p.m.
U. Indy's Power of Education Conference Indianapolis, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook: My JourneyPublic Event
Sponsor:University of Indianapolis Student Education AssociationRegister to attend
Venue:University of Indianapolis Schwitzer Hall Basement
Indianapolis, IN
+ 02/03/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
World Languages Workshop @ Lafayette Jeff HS Lafayette, IN
  Venue:Jefferson High School
1801 S. 18th St.
Lafayette, IN 47905
765-772-4700
Private Event
+ 02/26/2015
9:00-4:05 p.m.
Indiana Conference on Learning Indianapolis, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook (et al)Public Event
Sponsor:American Student Achievement InstituteRegister to attend
Venue:Wyndham Indianapolis West Hotel
2544 Executive Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46241
317-248-2481
Get more information
+ 03/18/2015
08:00-04:00 p.m.
Fall Creek Intermediate School Workshop Fishers, IN
  Venue:Fall Creek Intermediate School
12011 Olio Road
Fishers, IN 46037
(317) 915-4220
Private Event
+ 03/19/2015
7:30-3:00 p.m.
Hamilton Southeastern (Ind.) Schools Fishers, IN
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
+ 04/09/2015
04:00-06:00 p.m.
PVETI Social Media Workshop Rockville, IN
  Sponsor:Parke-Vermillion Education and Training Interlocal (PVETI)Private Event
Venue:Rockville High School
506 N. Beadle St.
Rockville, IN 47872
765-569-5686
+ 04/11/2015—04/12/2015
08:30-05:30 p.m.
Indiana Google Apps for Education Summit Franklin, IN
  Sponsor:EdTech TeamPublic Event
Venue:Franklin Community High School
2600 Cumberland Drive
Franklin, IN 46131
317-346-8100
Register to attend
+ 05/01/2015
09:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ CIESC Indianapolis, IN
  Venue:Central Indiana Educational Service Center
6036 Lakeside Blvd., Building A
Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-759-5555
Public Event
+ 05/08/2015—05/09/2015
Education On Air by Google for Education  
  Sponsor:Google for EducationPublic Event
+ 05/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop (CIESC)  
  Sponsor:Central Indiana Educational Service CenterRegister to attend
+ 05/11/2015—05/13/2015
Ivy Tech Community College Tech Workshop  
  Sponsor:Ivy Tech Community College of IndianaPrivate Event
+ 06/02/2015—06/03/2015
PowerED Up Conference Leopold, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Perry Central Jr/Sr HS
18677 Old State Road 37
Leopold, IN 47551
812-843-5576
+ 06/04/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
HSE Summer Learning Fair Fishers, IN
  Sponsor:Hamilton Southeastern SchoolsPrivate Event
Venue:Fishers High School
13000 Promise Road
Fishers, IN 46038
(317) 915-4290
+ 06/08/2015
Greencastle EdTech Conference Greencastle, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
+ 06/10/2015
08:00-04:00 p.m.
Connecting the 4 C's Conference @ Mt. Vernon (Ind.) Mount Vernon, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Mount Vernon High School
700 Harriett Street
Mount Vernon, IN 47620
812-833-5136
Register to attend
+ 06/11/2015—06/12/2015
8:00-3:00 p.m.
Yorktown WeLearn Conference Yorktown, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningRegister to attend
Venue:Yorktown High School
1100 S. County Road 575 West
Yorktown, IN 47396
(765) 759-2550
Get more information
+ 06/15/2015—06/16/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Summer Spark Symposium Milwaukee, WI
  Venue:University School of Milwaukee
2100 West Fairy Chasm Road
Milwaukee, WI 53217
414-352-6000
Public Event
+ 06/17/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
eLEAD Madison County Anderson, IN
  Sponsor:CAPE of Madison CountyPublic Event
Venue:Anderson University
1100 E. 5th St.
Anderson, IN 46012
+ 06/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Seymour Schools Tech Workshop Seymour, IN
  Sponsor:Seymour Community SchoolsPublic Event
Venue:Seymour High School
1350 W. 2nd St.
Seymour, IN 47274
812-522-4384
+ 06/23/2015—06/24/2015
Digipalooza 2015 Scottsburg, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:Scottsburg Middle School
425 S. 3rd St.
Scottsburg, IN 47170
812-752-8926
+ 06/25/2015—06/26/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
South Vermillion trAnSfoRM Conference Clinton, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
Venue:South Vermillion High School
770 Wildcat Drive
Clinton, IN 47842
765-832-3551
+ 06/27/2015
09:00-03:00 p.m.
#ReadTL15 Conference Reading, West Berkshire, UK
  Sponsor:Reading College (Reading, West Berkshire, United Kingdom)Public Event
Venue:Reading College
King's Road, Reading, West Berkshire RG1 4HJ
Reading, West Berkshire, UK
United Kingdom
+44 800 371434
Register to attend
+ 06/28/2015—07/01/2015
ISTE Conference 2015 Philadelphia, PA
  Full-day Seminar:Sharing Is Caring: Collaborative Google Apps ActivitiesPublic Event
Sponsor:International Society for Technology in EducationRegister to attend
Venue:Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
800-428-9000
Get more information
+ 07/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
USD 242 Weskan Schools Staff Development Weskan, KS
  Venue:Weskan Schools
219 Coyote Blvd.
Weskan, KS 67762
785-943-5222
Private Event
+ 07/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Northeastern Middle School Workshop Fountain City, IN
  Venue:Northeastern Middle School
7295 U.S. 27 North
Fountain City, IN 47341
(765) 847-1331
Private Event
+ 07/24/2015
08:00-3:00 p.m.
Greater Clark Connected Conference Jeffersonville, IN
  Sponsor:Greater Clark County SchoolsPublic Event
+ 07/28/2015—07/29/2015
Catching the Wave of eLearning Lafayette, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Department of Education Office of eLearningPublic Event
+ 07/30/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Seymour Schools Tech Workshop Seymour, IN
  Sponsor:Seymour Community SchoolsPrivate Event
Venue:Seymour High School
1350 W. 2nd St.
Seymour, IN 47274
812-522-4384
+ 08/10/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Idabel Public Schools  
  Sponsor:Idabel (OK) Public SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 08/13/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Palmer ISD (Texas) Palmer, TX
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
Venue:Palmer Independent School District
Palmer, TX
+ 08/18/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Brandywine Heights Area School District Topton, PA
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATE 
Sponsor:Brandywine Heights Area School District
+ 09/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Cascade Middle School Clayton, IN
  Venue:Cascade Middle School
6423 S. County Road 200 West
Clayton, IN 46118
(317) 539-9285
Private Event
+ 09/15/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ SIEC Jasper, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Public Event
Sponsor:Southern Indiana Education Center
+ 09/23/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ WVEC West Lafayette, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
+ 09/24/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ CIESC Indianapolis, IN
  Workshop:DItch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Central Indiana Educational Service Center
+ 09/25/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
MSD of Steuben Co. (Ind.) Angola, IN
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:MSD of Steuben County
Venue:Angola High School
350 S. John McBride Ave.
Angola, IN 46703
260-665-2186
+ 10/03/2015—10/03/2015
weLEAD Symposium Islamabad, Pakistan
  Venue:Margalla Hotel
Islamabad, Pakistan
Pakistan
Public Event
+ 10/06/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Anderson (Ind.) Schools Anderson, Indiana
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:Anderson Community Schools
+ 10/07/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ Region 8 ESC Decatur, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Region 8 Educational Service Center
+ 10/08/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ NIESC Plymouth, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:Northern Indiana Educational Services Center
Venue:Christo's Banquet Center
830 Lincolnway E, Plymouth
Plymouth, IN 46563
+ 10/12/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Tyler ISD Tyler, TX
  Sponsor:Tyler Indpendent School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 10/15/2015—10/16/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference (Indiana) Noblesville, IN
  Sponsor:Indiana Connected Educators ConferencePublic Event
Venue:Noblesville High School
18111 Cumberland
Noblesville, IN
Register to attend
+ 10/22/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Mt. Vernon CSC (Indiana) Fortville, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Sponsor:Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation
+ 11/10/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Cascade Middle School Clayton, IN
  Venue:Cascade Middle School
6423 S. County Road 200 West
Clayton, IN 46118
(317) 539-9285
Private Event
+ 11/11/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hamilton Southeastern Schools (Indiana) Fishers/Noblesville, Indiana
  Full-day Seminar:Ditch That TextbookPrivate Event
Sponsor:Hamilton Southeastern Schools
+ 11/14/2015
09:00-02:30 p.m.
Northeast Literacy Retreat Fort Wayne, IN
   Public Event
+ 11/17/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook workshop @ ECESC Connersville, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:East Central Educational Service Center
+ 11/18/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ditch That Textbook @ WCIESC Greencastle, Indiana
  Workshop:Ditch That TextbookPublic Event
Sponsor:West Central Indiana Educational Service Center
+ 11/19/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Elgin Local Schools (Ohio) Elgin, OH
  Sponsor:Elgin Local SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 01/13/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Madison eLearning Madison, IN
   Private Event
+ 01/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hudson ISD (Texas) Lufkin, TX
  Venue:Hudson Indpendent School District
6735 Ted Trout Drive
Lufkin, TX 75904
936-875-3351
Private Event
+ 01/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
South Putnam Greencastle, IN
  Sponsor:South Putnam SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 02/03/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Sheridan MS/HS Sheridan, IN
  Sponsor:Sheridan Community SchoolsPrivate Event
+ 02/09/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Southern Indiana Education Center Jasper, IN
  Sponsor:Southern Indiana Education CenterPublic Event
Venue:Southern Indiana Education Center
1102 Tree Lane Drive
Jasper, IN 47546
812-482-6641
Register to attend
+ 02/15/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Educational Service Unit #13 Scottsbluff, NE
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
Sponsor:Educational Service Unit #13
+ 02/16/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Rockford Public Schools Rockford, MI
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Private Event
Sponsor:Rockford Public Schools
+ 02/24/2016—02/25/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference St. Charles, IL
  Sponsor:Illinois Computing EducatorsPublic Event
Venue:Pheasant Run Resort and Conference Center
4051 E. Main St.
St. Charles, IL 60174
(630) 584-6300
Register to attend
+ 02/25/2016—02/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
ICE Conference (Illinois) St. Charles, IL
  Sponsor:Illinois Computing EducatorsPublic Event
+ 03/07/2016
01:15-03:30 p.m.
Mandan Public Schools Mandan, ND
  Sponsor:Mandan Public School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 03/09/2016—03/11/2016
MACUL Conference Grand Rapids, MI
  Sponsor:Michigan Association for Computer Users in LearningPublic Event
Venue:DeVos Place
303 Monroe Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 742-6500
Register to attend
+ 03/14/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Concordia Lutheran HS Fort Wayne, IN
  Sponsor:Concordia Lutheran High SchoolPrivate Event
+ 03/23/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Westwood Community School District Sloan, IA
  Sponsor:Westwood Community School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 04/13/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Wabash Valley Education Center West Lafayette, IN
  Workshop:Ditch That Textbook!Public Event
Sponsor:Wabash Valley Education CenterRegister to attend
Venue:Wabash Valley Education Center
3061 Benton Street
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(765) 463-1589
+ 04/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Monroe #1 BOCES (New York) Fairport, N.Y.
  Full-day Seminar:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
Sponsor:Monroe #1 BOCES
+ 04/26/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Caesar Rodney School District Camden, DE
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook Private Event
Venue:Caesar Rodney High School
239 Old North Road
Camden, DE 19934
+ 05/03/2016
Paoli Community School Corporation Paoli, IN
  Venue:To be determined
Paoli, IN
Private Event
+ 05/25/2016
09:00-09:45 a.m.
Pacific Northwest Apprenticeship Education Conference Portland, OR
  Sponsor:The Bureau of Labor and Industries, Oregon Building Congress and Oregon Tradeswomen Inc.Public Event
Venue:DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Conference Center
1000 NE Multnomah Street
Portland, OR
Register to attend
+ 05/31/2016
10:30-12:00pm
West Central Career Cooperative Crawfordsville, IN
  Venue:Crawfordsville Country Club
Crawfordsville, IN
Private Event
+ 06/06/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
PowerED Up Conference Leopold, IN
  Venue:Perry Central Schools
18677 Old State Road 37
Leopold, IN 47551
(812) 843-5576
Public Event
+ 06/07/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Making a Splash with Digital Learning Conference Batesville, IN
  Venue:Batesville Community School Corporation
626 N. Huntersville Road
Batesville, IN 47006
(812) 934-2194
Public Event
+ 06/08/2016—06/09/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Ignite Your Superpower Lafayette, IN
  Venue:Sunnyside Intermediate School
530 N 26th St
Lafayette, IN 47904
(765) 771-6100
Public Event
+ 06/13/2016—06/14/2015
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Summer Spark (Wisconsin) Milwaukee, WI
  Sponsor:University School of MilwaukeePublic Event
+ 06/15/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
REMAST Conference (South Dakota) Brookings, S.D.
  Sponsor:South Dakota State Noyce Scholarship ProgramPublic Event
+ 06/20/2016
Indianapolis Sister Cities Int'l Conference Indianapolis, IN
  Keynote:Connecting Your Classroom to the WorldPublic Event
Sponsor:Indianapolis Sister Cities InternationalRegister to attend
Venue:Covenant Christian High School
7525 W. 21st St.
Indianapolis, IN 46214
+ 06/22/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Western North Dakota ESA Dickinson, ND
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATEPublic Event
+ 06/26/2016—06/29/2016
ISTE Conference Denver, CO
  Venue:Colorado Convention Center
700 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Public Event
+ 07/12/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
MSD of Martinsville Martinsville, IN
  Sponsor:MSD of MartinsvillePrivate Event
+ 07/13/2016—07/14/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Pulaski County Special School District Little Rock, AR
  Sponsor:Pulaski County Special School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 07/18/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Sheridan/Hamilton Heights Sheridan, IN
   Public Event
+ 07/19/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Launching INquiry Fishers, IN
  Venue:Fishers High School College & Career Academy
13000 Promise Rd
Fishers, IN 46038
Public Event
+ 07/20/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Blended Learning Summit Salina, KS
  Sponsor:Smoky Hill Education Service CenterPublic Event
Venue:Smoky Hill Education Service Center
605 E. Crawford
Salina, KS 67401
785-825-9185
+ 07/21/2016
08:30-04:00 p.m.
iPadpaloozaEastTX Longview, TX
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Public Event
Sponsor:Region 7 Education Service CenterRegister to attend
Venue:Pine Tree High School
900 Northwest Drive
Longview, TX 75604
(903) 295-5031
Get more information
+ 07/22/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Tyler ISD Tyler, TX
  Sponsor:Tyler ISD 
+ 07/25/2016—07/26/2016
E3 Technology Conference Warsaw, IN
  Venue:Warsaw High School
1 Tiger Lane
Warsaw, IN 46580
(574) 371-5098
Public Event
+ 08/01/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Catholic High School New Iberia, LA
  Sponsor:Catholic High SchoolPrivate Event
Venue:Catholic High School
1301 de La Salle Drive
New Iberia, LA 70560
+ 08/05/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Fort Wayne Lutheran Schools Partnership Fort Wayne, IN
  Sponsor:Fort Wayne Lutheran Schools PartnershipPrivate Event
+ 08/09/2016
Southwest School Corporation Sullivan, IN
  Venue:Southwest School Corporation
110 North Main Street
Sullivan, IN 47882
(812) 268-6311
Private Event
+ 08/11/2016
Groesbeck ISD Tech Conference Groesbeck, TX
  Keynote:Ditch That Textbook!Private Event
Venue:Groesbeck Independent School District
1202 N. Ellis
Groesbeck, TX 76642
(254) 729-4100
+ 08/15/2016
Beggs Public Schools Beggs, OK
  Venue:Beggs Public Schools
1201 West 9th
Beggs, OK 74421
(918) 267-3628
Private Event
+ 08/16/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Etoile ISD Etoile, TX
  Sponsor:Etoile ISDPrivate Event
+ 08/17/2016
8:00-3:00 pm
Tech Academy  
   Private Event
+ 08/22/2016—08/23/2016
West Central School District Hartford, SD
  Venue:West Central School District
705 E. 2nd St.
Hartford, SD 57033
(605) 528-3217
Private Event
+ 08/24/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Walled Lake Consolidated School District  
   Public Event
+ 08/25/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
Hillsboro School District Hillsboro, OR
  Sponsor:Hillsboro School DistrictPrivate Event
+ 08/29/2016
8:00am-3:00pm
Service Learning School District Detroit, MI
  Sponsor:Service Learning School District 
+ 09/16/2016
New Prairie High School New Carlisle, IN
  Venue:New Praire High School
New Carlisle, IN
Private Event
+ 09/19/2016
Big Walnut Local Schools Sunbury, OH
  Workshop:The Digital PIRATE: Tech Like a PIRATEPrivate Event
Venue:Big Walnut Local Schools
36 Harrison St
Sunbury, OH 43074
(740) 965-3205
+ 09/20/2016
08:00-03:00 p.m.
NH Best Practices in Curriculum, Assessment and Assessment Conference Concord, NH
  Sponsor:New Hampshire School Administrators AssociationPublic Event
Venue:Grappone Conference Center
Concord, NH
+ 10/12/2016—10/13/2016
Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency Betterdorf, IA
  Sponsor:Mississippi Area Bend Education AgencyPrivate Event

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11 thoughts on “The one thing that will change a teacher’s hardened heart

  1. I agree, it can be very difficult to change their minds or even show them a new tool that they could use. I do hate it when I do hear a teacher go: “The students don’t know what the best tech is for them.” Or my favorite: “It’ll be ‘too hard’ for them.” Sometimes showing results both in their classroom or in your own can still not motivate them. Even with PD, sad to say there is a clusp of teachers, young ones too who learned through the traditional textbook way and that’s how they still feel they have to. Unlike many now, who will pull out their phones, laptops and start using other tools for their lessons and projects. It can be a very tough wall to scale or one to move for teachers who just don’t want to change.

    • You’re right, Ryan … and, to their credit, there are very good teachers who use the traditional textbook way and do great things in their classroom. But like what you alluded to, I hate when teachers limit themselves and have themselves painted into a corner in their instructional methods, so to speak. You’re exactly right … it can be very tough.

  2. Great post, Matt. As a 1:1 instructional coach, I’ve been dealing with the exact same resistance that you wrote about. Sharing with colleagues can be so powerful. Depending on who is sharing, it might cause other teacher to think, “If he’s doing it, so can I!” I’m working on getting to the core of teacher motivation. I believe even the most resistant and hard-nosed teacher wants to do what’s right for his or her students. By tapping in to a teacher’s sense of autonomy, he or she may be more motivated when the strategy or tool shows a real impact on student learning.

    • Mark, this is interesting … we have another comment on this post about mastery and you’re talking about autonomy … it’s all connecting back to Dan Pink’s book “Drive” on motivation. If we don’t force PD and give teachers some choice over what they want to learn, that can be powerful!

  3. You’ve hit the nail on the head with this blog post. And I would even go a step further with some experience I’ve had as a building level administrator. As a principal, I often had to work with challenging teachers who were stuck in place and just did not want to move. Frequently, sharing success stories with them worked, but what worked even better was when they could see those successes with their own eyes. I could tell Miss Smith all day long that her student John could be well behaved, motivated, and engaged in Mr. Jones’s class all day long, but she might still say that John was not a good student for her. But…get her into Mr. Jones’s class on a day when the students were up and working, being challenged with new problems, getting the opportunity to collaborate, or integrating technology into their work? Seeing John as a motivated, engaged student in the right environment? That speaks volumes. Now, it’s not just a STORY about a success. It’s hard-hitting, real evidence. And the evidence doesn’t lie!

    • I know exactly what you mean! I always wonder when teachers discount a student as the kind who can’t be motivated. I’ve done my best to keep kids engaged, motivated and learning in class, but I’ve had some that just didn’t connect but really did with another teacher. And what does that make me want to do? Go watch that teacher and figure out what he/she is doing!

  4. Recitation of an old adage with a hint of set theory added might act as a heart softener:

    “When they drew a circle to keep me out, then I drew a circle to bring them in.”

    If a “frown” creates an intersection ∩ that may result in an empty set ∅ of old practices, then just “smile” back to create a union ∪ that may result in a full set of new ideas.

    • Oh my goodness … Ken, I love it! I may have to turn this one into a sketch and share it so that more people can see it. I love your insights … so glad to have you as a part of this community!

  5. I’ve found that if I can uncover and praise at least one practice that an unmotivated or “hardened” teacher does and then show enthusiasm for extending it in an exciting “new” way that involves technology and THEN make him/her the expert in even just that one small thing – the world can change!

    • Ahh, Dawna, you nailed it! Help them become experts. Sounds like Dan Pink in “Drive”, where he talks about the three factors that drive our motivation — mastery, autonomy and purpose. Mastery = becoming really good at something. Autonomy = Having freedom to guide ourselves. Purpose = The pursuit of something higher than ourselves. Mastery always motivated me, too!

  6. I think it is very important that the administrator demonstrates the style and success themselves. One should shy away from using another teacher to demonstrate to other teachers. It may backfire and lead to animosity and jealousy. In order to get the job done right and the focus to remain on the students progress, the administrator should “administer” the lesson.