MYSTERY OF CHANGE: FIGURING OUT THE UNKNOWN

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How often have you tried to change something in your life (perhaps getting more exercise or eating healthier) and failed? Sometimes we try different ways to change, but get similar results. How is it possible that different approaches to change can produce comparable outcomes? What are the different variables that make change happen, and become sustainable?


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Imagine you are a baker. You are trying to master your baking skills. You have to try different methods, using different ingredients, or tools to perfect your cake. One time you might change the amount of sugar, another you might change the amount of heat. When you change something, the result changes in some way too.

Once you finally bake your perfect cake, you make a recipe, so you know the right tools, have the right ingredients, and a concrete process which guarantees the desired outcome to follow.

Outcomes do not only reflect approaches, or one aspect of change. There are other factors that influence different results. There could also be more than one way to bake that cake.

The mystery of change is when the factor that influences the expected outcomes is unknown.

More important than imagining what kind of outcome you want to achieve is to figure out what is needed in order to achieve it and how.

Try asking yourself:

  1. Why change is needed?
  2. What are the factors of this change?
  3. How should I change to get desired outcomes?

When it comes to teaching, try to identify if there’s a need to change and why. Observe the students, how they perform, their strengths and weaknesses. Do they need to change? Why? In which way?

When you understand the basic elements in the process of change, it helps you to determine the most efficient approaches to making it happen.

Institutionalization focuses on changing instructional approaches. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that approaches are not the only factors that lead to different outcomes. It takes time and effort to consider if there’s anything else needed to make this change an effective, useful, and sustainable one.