Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cold comfort or change?

Every now and then I read or hear something that so lucidly expresses such a deep truth or so resonates with reality that it's like someone struck the gong of my mind. That's what happened when I came across this passage in Transforming School Culture by Anthony Muhammad in which he summarized the findings of Dan Lortie about teachers who resist change--teachers Muhammad calls "the fundamentalists" (emphasis mine):

1) Teachers have been socialized in the field where they have practiced since they were 5-year-old children and have not been removed from that context since entering kindergarten. Since age 5, educators observed others' practice in the field in which they would eventually practice themselves.

2) On average, teachers were very good students and occupied the highest levels of the organization. As teachers, they bring that experience to the classroom and seek to preserve the same system that they enjoyed and benefited from as students.

Lortie concluded that it is irrational to expect people who benefited from a system to be the catalyst for changing that system. In fact, we should expect them to try and preserve a personally beneficial system.


That's it. That's why this is so hard. That's why changing the system from a filter and gateway and sorting system into something that actually aims to help every student succeed is like pulling teeth.

But isn't this true for all of us. Change--admitting we've been wrong, or that the system that benefited us is wrong, or is not what's best for everyone, is hard. Breaking out of our comfort zone is hard. It's risky.

But reality is risky. Being human is risky. but we have to choose. Cold comfort or change. Personal security at the expense of humanity, or exposure and vulnerability with increased humanness.

That's what I'm going for here.

Humanness. Openness. Change. Not for changes sake, but in a constant quest for something better: A sort of infinite flexibility, an evolvingness that is willing to be daily deconstructed in response to new data--a worldview that sees wrongness and failure as a springboard to rightness and success.

To be wrong, to see it, own it, then turn around and change, and realize you may still be wrong. To realize that the cold comfort of pseudo-security that comes from fundamentalism can't compare with the vibrancy of running right into reality and and the warmth of real humanity.

No comments:

Post a Comment