May Your Journey be Your Destination!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

You Mean a Force Field Can Help My Action Plan?

Force Field Analysis. When I first read this, I envisioned Dr. Spock analyzing my action research data on the Enterprise. It may seem like a strange name chosen for this tool; on the contrary, it is quite fitting. The idea behind a Force Field Analysis is described by Sandra Harris from our textbook: Examining What We Do to Improve our Schools: Eight Steps from Analysis to Action, is this:  “…the driving forces of the change must exceed the resisting forces of the change,” (Harris, pg.94). Sounds much like a physics lesson! But if you really delve into what Kurt Lewin, social scientist, was saying, one realizes how essential his points are to consider prior to making a change or to even decide whether change is needed. Essentially, if change is to occur, the need for change must exceed the resisting forces against change (Harris,pg. 94). It really does sound very scientific, but it makes perfect sense. Consider this example to help explain this concept:
It reminds me of Dr. Seus's Star-Bellied Sneetches with the "stars upon thars..." and how they had to overcome the general consensus that having stars on their bellies was a necessary trend. Once they decided that it was ok to have both star-bellies and non-star bellies (after a great expense), they had surpassed the resistance of change. It took a while to arrive to this consensus, but arrive they did!
We come upon so many obstacles when change is iminent. This is because humans are creatures of habit, as we prefer the coziness of our routines, homes, places, and knowing how things have been and must remain. So when our version of a "Sylvester McMonkey McBean" and his "fix-it-up chappie" show up at our door with a solution to a problem that we were hoping would just fix itself, we need to remind ourselves that change is essential to improvement in our schools, and that we need to research the need for change. 
If one looks at where we have been and where we are heading in education, the largest ingredient in the "Salad Bowl" change. As an educator, change is ever-present in our lives. It is in how we approach the need and evaluation for change that will foster an environment for improvement. 
As you can see, Force Field Analysis is not rocket science, but does have a valid and useful purpose. Of couse, having Dr. Spock read our analyses for us is quite appealing; however, quite an impossibility.

Harris, Sandra, Edmonson, Stacey, & Combs, Julie. (2009). Examining what we do to improve our schools. 2009.

Seuss, Dr., Blumenthal, Bob, & Emery, Francenia. (2002). That. Trafford.

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