Before deciding to do something, since the beginning, you need to know how you want it to end. To simply put it, keeping your objective clear is the key. So, what should you keep in mind when making a change to new ways of teaching?
The end is where we begin
Change with the introduction of new teaching strategies and approaches can be a daunting process. Often, people are in such a hurry to try new education technologies and teaching techniques, the desired end goal of the change is overlooked. This is why “Backwards Design” is crucial when it comes to making a change to new ways of teaching. Backward Design is an instructional design method that begins with the end in mind. The goal of making the change stick needs to be planned from the beginning.
In the popular book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, business author Stephen Covey encourages development of the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot presently see with your eyes. He calls this ‘Beginning with the End in Mind’. To simply put it, when beginning a change or adoption of something new it is useful to imagine what the final outcome will look like. Covey said people need to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of the desired direction and destination. In this case, making a lasting change that is institutionalized into the daily work of teaching at a college or university should be the explicit goal of change to new approaches and strategies to instruction.
Choose a frame
This beginning with the end in mind also applies to institutionalizing change and, of course, making it stick. The goal for the MekongSkills2Work Network is to create a skilled, market-driven workforce with connections between job seekers and industry along with the promotion of economic development, civic engagement and ASEAN integration. Making a change to new ways of teaching needs to be framed with this goal in mind.
Put your picture in that frame
To illustrate this point, the process for the introduction of teaching strategies, such as work-based learning, flipped classrooms, online learning, or other innovative instructional approaches needs to be started with the end in mind. As the change is begun, teachers and students should be reminded to imagine how the new instructional methods specifically link to the overall goal for the MS2W program. The more specific you can be in your imagining the better. Try to imagine:
- What would it be like to teach students who industry will recognize as workplace ready?
- What will employers say to faculty and students when industry-education connections strengthen students’ work readiness skills?
- How do students go about working in your classroom or lab now that the toolkits are implemented and new teaching strategies are institutionalized?
- When students take a test, how would they perform?
- How would students talk about what they are learning?
You want a full HD picture
I encourage you to try to be as detailed as you can in imagining the answers to these and other questions of what would the achievement of the MS2W goal mean for students. Then, with the end in mind, we can start and continue to move forward with changes as we now have a clearer picture and understanding of what needs to be done to make our imagined future become reality.