This week was mad. I remember myself running around on Tuesday morning – Monday has been erased from my memory completely – like a headless chicken to fit everything in, get everything ready, get organised, before leaving for Brighton. I wish I had some heelys or roller skates or could make things happen by pushing a magic button!!! – but this wouldn’t be fun… Most of my week was spent at the ECEL2011 conference in Brighton, which was very useful and I am glad I could go, but did take me away from my weekly activities linked to the PGCAP (planning for next sessions and supporting students) but also the SLEC course – I missed the contact with my own students but also the opportunity to engage with the SLEC course online.
The wifi was highly problematic in the hotel (was it the sea?) and I couldn’t follow fresh conversations in Moodle. However, I just managed to read some of the stuff on the train, this also didn’t work very well because I started feeling dizzy. I just wish I wouldn’t be dizzy so easily… I am hopeless! The good thing was that I did get some fresh sea air (really had missed the smell of proper sea wind) and had plenty of opportunities to think about my practice. So in fact I was engaged but in a different way this week in spirit I was actually there. I know it is not the same and I hope to catch up next week. I am conscious that I need to provide feedback to some of my students and that this has been delayed more than I wanted to because of this trip. I must do this my top priority now that I am back.
Of all the readings this week, one phrase by Scott (2003) stayed with me and reminded me of something very important:
“Taking what looks like a potentially relevant, desirable, and feasible change idea and making it work in practice is by far the hardest part of quality improvement and innovation process.” (p. 70)
At times, I have to admit, I am impatient with myself and want everything to work first time because I feel so excited when I have an idea and am curious to find out how it will work in practice. Then disappointment fills me when it doesn’t work and criticism arrives… but I do pick up myself again and more forward. I have managed to do this so far. In the whole process, however, I need to remember to see my ideas more like work-in-progress material and understand that ideas need time to develop into concepts and become something useful and of value. But I think I also need to tell students that this is the case and that we are learning on this together.
Roche (2003) notes that “The change readiness period must be taken seriously, so that transitional stages such as denial, resistance and exploration are accepted as normal reactions to change” (p. 174). Is this easily done? It is a useful perspective to have and one that will help you overcome some of the barriers we are facing when doing risky things. All criticisms is of course useful, even the most extreme one! We learn by doing and from making mistakes and observing others mistakes too. The person who doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t usually do much… this is a fact. And the more we do the more mistakes we make, this is another fact. Roche (2003) states “Change comes from seeing possibilities, creating opportunities from mistakes and unexpected experiences (often negative ones).” (p. 173) To contextualise this a bit, I guess, I could mention briefly the creativity game idea that I have tried in various settings for a few years now and I kept making changes to improve it. It was just this semester, however, when this idea matured and turned into a real concept. The “Sell your bargains” game. There were loads of bits woolly (too woolly?), before defining more clearly the pedagogical rationale and I think for the very first time all players recognised the value of this game for their practice.
A thought from Moodle follows which was posted in response to somebody else’s posting. These few lines made me think a bit more, a bit deeper and in different directions too.
“In my experience many educational developers feel passionately about what they do, but this can be evidenced either as trying to persuade by sharing that passion – heart- or blinding with evidence, theories (brute logic?) – mind. or both. I like your description of being there at the right time and asking the right questions – can be difficult to know what is the right question sometimes.“
Rose, E. And Buckley, S. (1999) Self-directed Work Teams, American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), Alexandria (VA).
Roche, V. (2003) Being an agent of change, in: Kahn, P. and Baume, D. (eds.) A guide to Staff & Educational Development, Oxon: Routledge.
Scott, G. (2003) Effective Change Management in Higher Education, EDUCAUSE review, Nov/Dec. Pp. 64-80.