It is relatively well known that people do not necessarily like change. Many of us are comfortable in our day to day lives, so when a change occurs we are often resistant to it for fear of losing our consistency. However, change is an important part of growing – as an individual, as a professional, and as part of a larger group – and that growth can lead to positive outcomes. Within the special education department at my high school, I am a leader for change. I am working to implement ePortfolios to assist our students in developing their post-secondary transition plans. This implementation plan will be a change for my colleagues and for our students, but I believe that it will be a positive change within the learning environment, one that the students will take ownership over.
Over the past few weeks, I have spent time learning about the power of influence. Used correctly, influence can have a positive outcome when promoting change within an organization. The first step of this process is to determine what your desire result will be. The result I plan to achieve is to have all members of the special education department within my building implement ePortfolios into their classrooms by the end of the 2019-2020 school year, in order to provide our student population with opportunities to explore and reflect on their post-secondary transition plans. The pilot group, which will begin implementation during the spring of 2019, will consist of 8 teachers (two per grade level) out of a total of 16.
From here, and with my desire result in mind, I determined what vital behaviors I needed to focus on. Vital behaviors are the actions that lead to the results you want and are keys to change. It will not be enough for me to simply “share my plan” with my colleagues and expect them to follow along. I will need to focus on specific vital behaviors to achieve my ultimate result. It will be necessary for my colleagues within my department to positively advocate for the ePortfolios. To do so, teachers will incorporate and model their own ePortfolios into their classrooms so students can gain understanding of and view working ePortfolios. Also, each teacher will need to have the students add one to two transition specific assignments to their ePortfolios per marking period (dependent upon grade level), as well as adding weekly course content/projects/reflections (9-10 weeks per marking period). Finally, teachers will be asked to collaborate with other teachers while implementing ePortfolios to hold each other accountable in regards to their ePortfolio usage, as well as the students’ ePortfolios usage.
Implementing ePortfolios throughout my department is a lofty goal. There are many expectations that are placed on the special education teachers in our building, and adding an additional “to-do” item to a list is not what I want. For this reason, my department colleagues are my major organizational influencers. The buy-in from them will determine how the ePortfolio initiative is embraced as well as the success of my desired result. We will work together to find ways to authentically integrate ePortfolios, and to encourage and support the students through the process. Along with the teachers, it will be imperative for the Special Education Supervisor to emphasize the importance of transition plans for our special education population, and for our building level administration to encourage and support the use of ePortfolios within the building. There are many organizational influences within the high school building so it will be important for everyone to work and communicate together to successfully implement the ePortfolios.
I will be using the Six Sources of Influence in order to influence change within my organization. The influencer model drives behavior change by examining motivation and ability. From there, the domains are subdivided into personal, social, and structural categories.
Implementing a department wide initiative for change requires more than I could have imagined. Using the Influencer Model has helped me to determine measurable results and what strategies I will need in order to achieve them. Change is a difficult concept for many people, but applying research-based strategies will assist me in effectively implementing change.
Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., & Shimberg, A. (2013). How to 10X your influence. [eDocument]. Retrieved February 5, 2019, from https://learn-us-east-1-prod-fleet01-xythos.s3.us-east-1.amazonaws.com/5c082f78d4ba4/2689925?response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%2A%3DUTF-8%27%2710x%2520Your%2520Influence%2520Research%2520Report.pdf&response-content-type=application%2Fpdf&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Date=20190210T171928Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=21600&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIBGJ7RCS23L3LEJQ%2F20190210%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Signature=c141185d03174571bab9155c2f7ce9768d4ed5753ebb9f4989ff602c3c86a582