I read a post this morning about supporting teachers skeptical in technology. As someone who does support teachers, I found that this article left a bit on the table. Below are my 5 secrets to supporting reluctant teachers. I follow these steps religiously and have been successful at doing so. With all things, please note that your school and situation can vary. I do welcome your feedback.
1. Don’t overwhelm teachers with a “list of 100 apps”.
It should be no surprise that I am not a “20 apps in 20 minutes” or “100 apps in 60 minutes” kind of trainer. I am a “let’s learn to use 5 apps really well” kind of person instead. When you drop a list of apps, you are in essence guaranteeing that they will NOT be used. It can be intimidating…no, it IS intimidating for teachers new to tech.
2. Start with Personal…personal use is an excellent bridge to professional use.
I like to tie in “personal flavors” in training. For creation, this is a great way for teachers to communicate who they are with apps or even web tools. To help teachers see how others have used applications, we go to Pinterest. Almost all are surprised that pinterest has “lessons”. If you can help anyone, especially a teacher, see how the application ties into their daily life, you are increasing the chances of its use.
3. Work WITH teachers to find places in their lessons to integrate relevant technology
It is so important to NOT just use tech as a gimmick. Always use what is appropriate to communicate what the lesson defines. That does NOT mean that we don’t use “fun” tech. With reluctant teachers, they want to know “WHY”…you need to be able to communicate that. If you can brainstorm together and let the task lead the tech, you will win with the teacher.
4. Support through modeling
Having someone else in the room to help does wonders to ease fears. This means that you must have built a relationship with the teacher in order to make this even an option. If that teacher is not comfortable with you and your support, it won’t work. Most teachers are very protective of their spaces. Make sure that the teacher understands that the content expertise lies with them. You are there to help support them with technology. With a relationship, a co-teaching model is actually ideal.
5. Reflect and help support further growth
Always start with a question. If you’ve done steps 3 & 4 correctly, planning with teachers & modeling…reflection should help open those reluctant eyes. What did we do? Why did we do it? How did students react? Did their finished product communicate higher level thinking? Did students enjoy it? Remember…FUN is in!
Above all, make sure that you lead with understanding. Get to know who your teachers are and know that they are not ignoring tech but need guidance. My job is to help teachers get there.