Simcoe County District School Board is currently offering a number of leadership opportunities for interested staff. One of these opportunities is an article study series, with a focus on instructional leadership. We are using a number of formats to facilitate discussion of a series of articles. For this article, we will be using a blog format. Visit this this blog anytime between now and March 19. Use the “comment” feature at the bottom of the page by clicking where it shows the number of comments in orange (see picture below). This will allow you to make a comment. Use this feature to answer the posted questions.
Be sure to check back through the week to see what others have posted and reply to their posts. Anyone is welcome to participate and add to the conversation!
A Measure of Concern
Every educational leader has likely faced challenges at some point when trying to support change practices. Staff are often at different stages of understanding and implementation, and this variance can present challenges to productive collaboration related to school improvement.
Traditionally, teacher voice in professional learning may have been thought about as teacher preference, and may have looked like a school administrator giving choices for topics or pathways of professional learning. However, the ways that leaders respond to voice can either move the school community forward with depth and focus, or can cause teams to go a mile wide and an inch deep when attempting to respond to a wide range of opinions on staff.
Based on this premise, the “Stages of Concern” framework is a developmental progression of seven stages that describe the feelings and motivations a teacher might have about a change in practice as it is implemented. School leaders can use this model to support school improvement planning while working to investigate and reframe the concepts of “voice and choice” in terms of “readiness and concern”.
Previously, instructional leaders may have thought of these concerns as people being “negative” or “resistant”. This model changes that perspective. Through the Stages of Concern, leaders are encouraged to discuss and address concerns rather than trying to silence the voices that seem to challenge the change that is being implemented. The Stages of Concern framework honours individual concerns as a valid part of the change process, where voiced concerns become “assessment for learning” and “assessment as learning” information for the instructional leader, informing the ways in which they support the people they work with. It then allows leaders to differentiate and plan targeted professional learning to meet the self-identified needs of teachers, all the while, honouring voice and building relationships.
1- How does the “Stages of Concern” model make you rethink the concept of “resistance”?
2- Considering your current job embedded context, how might the “Stages of Concern” model support your practice related to instructional leadership? What are some specific “takeaways” that you want to try?
3- After reading this article, what are some questions that you have? Participants are encouraged to provide feedback on questions that are posted.
Holloway, K. (2003). A measure of concern: Research based program aids innovation by addressing teacher concerns. National Staff Development Council Tools for Schools.
Retrieved from https://learningforward.org/docs/tools-for-learning-schools/tools2-03.pdf?sfvrsn=2