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Change, that Elusive Dance

by Billie Young
July/August 2011
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Article Link: http://www.exchangepress.com/article/change-that-elusive-dance1/5020010/

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
â€" Alan Watts

Change. Why is it so elusive yet ever-present? Why do we embrace and anticipate with delight some changes, and dread and resist others? We spend enormous amounts of time, energy, and resources trying to create lasting change in ourselves, our colleagues, our programs, and systems of care and education. And yet, far too often, the change we seek eludes us, or we are unable to maintain it over time.

Consider Helen, director of a large urban child care center with a long tradition of excellence and lead teachers who all have college degrees in early childhood education. Last year, Helen launched an 18-month effort to transform her center from teacher-directed classrooms using a Reggio Emilia-inspired approach. She funded her staff to go to workshops on the new constructivist approach, brought in an on-site trainer, sent staff to observe at a model center nearby, and hired a coach to work with staff. After 18 months, fewer than half of her staff had changed their classroom practices. Why wasn’t Helen’s change effort more successful?

What insight can we gain ...

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