The Iguana project
IGUANA focus on modernising the school system; reducing school drop-out rates and ensuring that schools contribute effectively to making the EU ‘the most competitive economy in the world’. The key problem is resistance to change – or ‘stuckness’ – defined as ‘a person, a family, or a wider social system enmeshed in a problem in persistent and repetitive ways, despite desire and effort to alter the situation’.
Adoption of Change
The adoption of new educational practices does not occur naturally but results from hard work, trial and error. It is important to recognize this fact and to make an effort to develop information that is concise, readable and to the point and to make sure the information reaches people who can use it. A broad spectrum of skills is needed to lead to effective management of innovation and change.
Multiple channels of communication should be used to promote the adoption of an innovation. Never expect one report, one presentation, one telephone call or one conference to accomplish everything. Successful programs need to be carefully conceived and carried out. Human contacts are critical ingredients, and need to be used along with good written and visual materials. These materials are useless without an understanding of the needs, limitations and problems of the user.
Education leaders can bring innovation for the user by examining their preconceived notions about the way things should be done. Personnel have to be receptive to change themselves, they have to be able to evaluate new ideas objectively and see students –not as they have been –but as they might be.
Resistance to Change
The adoption of innovations involves altering human behaviour, and the acceptance of change. There is a natural resistance to change for several reasons.
People resist change:
When the reason for the change is unclear. Ambiguity–whether it is about costs, equipment, jobs–can trigger negative reactions among users.
When the proposed users have not been consulted about the change, and it is offered to them as an accomplished fact. People like to know what’s going on, especially if their jobs may be affected. Informed workers tend to have higher levels of job satisfaction than uninformed workers.
When the change threatens to modify established patterns of working relationships between people.
When communication about the change–timetables, personnel, monies, etc.–has not been sufficient.
When the benefits and rewards for making the change are not seen as adequate for the trouble involved.
When the change threatens jobs, power or status in an organization.
Decision makers will be more responsive to change:
If the information presented coincides with their current values, beliefs, and attitudes:
If they perceive that the change will benefit them more than it will cost them:
If the innovation requires marginal rather than major changes in their views or lives:
If they have a demonstrated need for the innovation: and
If the innovation is introduced gradually so that people can adjust to the resulting change.
The Iguana project addresses these issues and offer guidance and consulting for managing these change programs, we call educational innovation
Watch this video to learn more about the Iguana project
The project partners
The IGUANA project brings together partners from different backgrounds and locations throughout Europe. The partnership involves:
- CEPCEP, a research centre of the Portuguese Catholic University,
- Arcola Research in London,
- Menon Educational Innovation Network in Brussels,
- Ellinogermaniki Agogi in Greece
- Vilnius University Institute of Mathematics and Informatics
- Trinity College in Dublin
- Contour Education Services in Surrey, UK
- And the European School Heads association
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