I wonder how many of you had a staff professional learning event on the first day back. 

How many teachers were exposed to new (or old) ideas, with the assumption that this one-day hit would impact outcomes across the school?

In my line of work I am often asked to come in to a school and work with teachers for half or even a full day around issues of engagement or mindset, and whilst – in the moment – this might be interesting for staff, I do question school leaders around their plans for the bigger picture. 

How many new (or old) ideas have you heard through the course of your career only for them to have minimal impact in the school? 

Following, I’ll outline the five main reasons this tends to happen. 

1. No Vision

Staff don’t really understand why this idea is being introduced at this particular time. In some cases staff may have heard the vision, or seen it written somewhere, but they haven’t internalised it. This may be because they might not have had a hand in developing it. This can lead to confusion.

2. No Skills

Let’s be clear, if you’re keen on bringing in a new technique or approach, it’s unlikely that one day’s training is going to be enough for all staff to fully get to grips with it. This leads to anxiety, which can in turn provoke a fight or flight response.

3. No Incentive

If staff don’t see “what’s in it for them” it can lead to resistance, even if they appreciate it is the right thing to do. The best kind of incentive is of an intrinsic nature, and if staff have had a hand in developing the vision, they are more likely to have this. Relying on a new job title, or a few extra bucks per week is unlikely to sustain change.

4. No Resources

Time and money needs to be set aside if anything worthwhile is to be achieved. This often means stopping doing something else within the school. Without resources, your staff just become frustrated.

5. No Plan

Assuming you had all the above factors taken care of, without a tangible plan with milestones, accountability and evaluation you’re likely to experience many false starts, or as some call it the hamster wheel – staff working really hard but not really getting anywhere.

So next time you’re bringing something – anything – new into your school, consider how you can address these five issues.