Rob Evans Keynote #blc11

Forgot to post this one. I really enjoyed Rob Evans’ keynote and here were some of my takeaways.

Rob Evans Keynote

  • Challenges facing adults in schools as they grapple with change (of any kind)
  • So little about what schools should be doing is done in any middle place
    • Ton of school basing; ton of looking way up in the sky, but big gap
  • Tremendous focus on needs of kids, but little focus on the individuals who are supposed to be leading these kids
  • “If you’re not careful, you can OD on good ideas.”
  • We don’t have any leisure left. We’re all about business.
  • Change of any kind is almost without exception a focus of ambivalence. Not only between those who seem to want it and those who seem to not want it.
  • We cling to pattern!
  • People who say they love change often love THEIR OWN type of change.
  • Pattern-seeking – not about happiness; people CLING to patterns
    • patterns make life meaningful, not necessarily happy.
    • people routinely shoot themselves in the foot!
  • We don’t react to the event, we react to the meaning of the event
  • 3 kinds of meanings that are problematic:
    • 1. loss – grief
      • I am at grief when my idea is devalued
      • Change often devalues long-held assumptions, causing resistance. Resistance is normal and necessary
      • people who are committed are also resisters
    • 2. change and continuity
      • change – increases confusion
      • Change creates ambivalence: humans cling to patterns (make life meaningful) AND seek novelty.
      • change begets conflict; when you create change, you create winners and losers automatically
      • “What we need in schools is a dynamic not of change, but between change and continuity. Continuity is a core value for good reason.”
    • 3. disagree constructively
      • outstanding at avoiding conflict
      • the bigger and more meaningful the change, the more likely we are to resist
      • “Whatever else they are excellent at, they are outstanding at avoiding open conflict.”
      • “people learn from the people they love”
      • we should be able to disagree constructively
      • many teachers are great with kids, but not with adults
      • Schools need to learn how to disagree constructively to have a better chance of sparking the kind of change we want to have.
  • schools are harder to change than corporate places; continuity; a lot of what happens in schools (what they need to learn) is not fast changing – software companies move rapidly, but lots about school life is rather enduring or at least slow changing; schools NEED creativity but not constant innovation
  • if you want people to change, they have a right to know 3 things: why, what, how
    • why do we need the change?
      • when somebody asks this questions and you give an answer…
      • 2 problems with an honest answer:
        • it causes bereavement (grief sets in) – problem: it interferes with concentration and memory
      • need more than an abstract argument – it won’t be sufficient
      • people need pressure and then support
    • what am i supposed to change to?
      • what is the most important change that you want to see now?
    • and how am i supposed to get there?
      • where is the help? what supports do you have set up?
  • “There is no known innovation that survives the indifference of the principal.”
  • “We need to balance reach and realism”
  • “The human brain learns best in situations of mild anxiety.” Not too little, not too much… Lesson: lighten up!
  • Journey vs destination – destination is a weigh station and journey is life itself
    • lifelong learning – make kids develop in a way that promotes that schooling
  • Alan November
    • education that is limited to what teachers already know does not go far enough. it should be an opportunity for students to stand on our shoulders and take it to a higher place.

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