How to Bring Learning Stories into your Practice
Once they decide to start writing Learning Stories in their program, leaders often ask for advice on how to successfully implement this change in practice. Leading change in your program can be hard, even when your team is asking for a change or when you know it will be a better approach. Follow these quick tips to help guide you in successfully making the shift to writing Learning Stories in your program.
Start with your “Why?”
Make sure you are clear on why you want to start writing Learning Stories in your program and be able to communicate that clearly to your team. If you have a program vision, mission or values, make sure your reasoning for writing Learning Stories aligns with that. When the team has a clear understanding of the why, and how it will benefit the program, they will be more willing to embrace the change.
Find ways for your team to be part of the change implementation process and to share their feedback, whenever possible. The more the team feels included in the process, the more willing they will be to adopt this new approach.
Think about Pancakes
No, seriously. Most of the time, the first or even second pancake does not turn out. Pancakes remind us that we sometimes have to make a couple attempts before things come out just right. Remember that things may not start off perfectly, but we have to keep going to get to the perfect pancake.
Embrace your Humanity
Even as a fearless leader, you will undoubtedly have times during the change process when you struggle, too. Communicate that with your team and embrace your own humanity. When you bring your authentic self to the work, it allows your team to better connect with you and want to be on the same path with you.
Focus on Early Adopters
In most instances of change, members of the team will be at different places in accepting and adopting that change. Focus your time and energy on the “early adopters”, the members of your team who are the most excited and passionate about Learning Stories. Once you invest time and energy into the early adopters and share their successes, the enthusiasm will begin to spread to the rest of the team.
Listening is one of the most powerful tools you possess as a leader. It lets others know that they are important to you and that you value what they have to say. Listen to your team when they share their struggles with implementing Learning Stories. This empathy will help motivate them to want to keep trying.
Celebrate your Wins
No matter how small, celebrate your wins along the way. Did someone write their first Learning Story? Celebrate that! Did someone get their first response to a story from a family member? Celebrate that! The more you focus on these wins, the more successful and motivate your team will feel.
Leadership and Learning Stories
Learning Stories are a wonderful way to increase family engagement, teacher empowerment, and integrated assessment into your Early Childhood Education program. If you are a leader interested in more resources and training to help implement change and buy in for your program, contact email@example.com to learn more about our professional development and training options to help you do so.