Towards a dynamic, manageable model
About the way of implementation
Only just out of the shell  
Having physical education, clearing away and taking a shower. A weekly ritual in group 3/4. Having physical education is fun, clearing away is no problem, but taking a shower….An atmosphere has developed, in a for me inexplicable way, which makes ‘moving about nakedly’ for boys problematic. Eventually everybody will take a shower, but some children indicate that they do not want it.  
Some boys have walked to the shower room for some time with the hand in front of their willy.
When we are back into the classroom, I ask them for their perception. Very quickly some are shouting that they do not want it. It is also said that taking a shower is dangerous, even dangerous to life. I hear the scientific arguments until they do not have any more additions. When I ask then why they really do not want it, it becomes quiet. The atmosphere of creative and humorous utterances does not rest long. Frits says: “I may not get wet from my mum”. I tell him that he does not have to get wet on my account. “But you have said that taking a shower is obligatory here at school.” “Yes,” I answer, “taking a shower is indeed obligatory, but I have never said that you have to get wet from it.” I had not thought of anything and had not meant anything. I join the conversation in the atmosphere which they had created themselves. “Then I know something”, Frits says and he can hardly say it because of his laughing. “I will take an umbrella next time!” He was not the only one with an umbrella next time. I had brought shampoo. They could hardly wait until physical education was over….
And did you know that taking a shower is fun and that you get wet, even with an umbrella? It has never been said again that they did not want to take a shower. It has been asked regularly why there are so many children who do not bring an umbrella when taking a shower.

Rules, agreements, codes, ways of working, addresses and norms within organisations sometimes have reasons which cannot be detected. There is a meeting every week, children must go outside at noon, you are only allowed to draw when your arithmetic is finished, in the lower forms you address a teacher with his first name and in the upper forms with his last name…. And actually nobody knows why. Naturally it often is not very relevant to put all these sorts of futilities on the agenda. Nevertheless it is interesting to see what is current in organisations without it being really profitable. For example could meetings be more effective and less frequent? The complexity exists between ‘that which is good’ and ‘new possibilities’.

The monkeys and the bananas*
In an experiment five monkeys are put into a cage with in the middle a few blocks and high on top of them a bunch of bananas. By putting the blocks on top of each other the monkeys can reach the bananas. Very quickly the first monkey takes the blocks, piles them and wants to climb onto them to be able to get the bananas. At that moment all monkeys are being sprayed with water. Since monkeys absolutely hate getting wet, all monkeys are recoiling. After a short break number two is trying. The monkeys are sprayed wet again. Then they have become wiser: they stay away from the blocks and the bananas.
Then one of the monkeys is taken out of the cage and a new monkey is brought inside. It has not seen anything of this experiment. It is looking on for a while. You see its glance often goes to the bananas. After a while it approaches the blocks, piles them one onto the other. But before it can reach for the bananas all other monkeys are dashing onto it to pull it away from it. On no account it may go to the bananas because they will all be sprayed wet again later.

Monkey number two is being changed. It is the same story: the new monkey looks and approaches the blocks and all monkeys are pulling it away in order to not being sprayed wet again. But what is interesting: the monkey that was changed before which has never been sprayed wet, participates equally strongly.

In course of time all monkeys are changed but no one ever goes towards the bananas. None of the monkeys knows why but they do what they have learnt from the members of the same species.
Did you also get new ‘monkeys’ in your team?
Are you also afraid of being sprayed wet?
Are you sure that there not some lovely bananas anywhere?

* K. de Galan, Training, a guide of practice (2003)
Unambiguity and diversity
In order to implement starting points of a concept more is needed than good agreements and working hard. We have noticed during ways of counselling of schools that many teams do not want to be labelled. Every type of education is prejudiced en often infected. For that reason we developed a ‘different route’. In the implementation of ways of education two aspects are very important. An unambiguous course and the individual abilities must show to full advantage by a great diversity. If the direction is not clear, then there must be tuning every time there is a change. And if there is little room for the uniqueness of every individual, the way will be delayed continually by ‘opponents’. And if they want to show that something does not work, they have a much simpler task than those who want to meet the new uncertainties fully.
Processes of change must take into account the direction, the process and the individuals.

The direction
It must be clear beforehand which way you are going together. Of course by no means all obstacles can be predicted. But all participants must endorse important characteristics of ‘the route’.

The process
The process is always complex. Beforehand classical problems and resistance can be predicted. Sometimes even standard reactions of people can be expected. But the characteristic of treading new paths together is that unexpected turns can occur. You cannot be prepared for those literally. You must ‘take them along’ in all openness.

The individuals
Changes put individuals to the test. Not everybody can always do this quite easily. It demands great attention and carefulness with regard to the individual wishes en possibilities of all participants. In the route it must be clear and visible which way the organisation is going, what the room is for individuals and what the limit is. You can create clarity by three categories:
- What are we doing together?
- What may you do individually?
- What are we not doing yet?
The way
In order to guarantee unambiguity and diversity it is important that the way of implementation is dynamic within ‘fixed frameworks’. It is advisable that on the basis of shared views of man rules are determined beforehand. Then the play does begin!

The way knows four phases:

1) The declaration of intention
A document by which quality is measured and following steps can be ‘tested’.

2) The statement of change
A statement which heralds a serious change on the basis of sounds (wishes) which have been heard for some time.

3) The individual wishes
A document in which individual teachers express their wishes in order to realize the ideal situation – their image of the declaration of intention -.

4) Determining the way
At the end of the school year (or more often between times) the documents, which are worked on, must be established (formally).
1) The declaration of intention
The team shares visions of education with each other. At this moments many teachers make use of the same vocabulary. ‘Everybody’ has almost got hold of the same terminology. It is often mentioned that ‘not everybody from the past was bad’…
In discussions in which a collective vision must be achieved, the real problems occur. Opinions about pressure of work, order, participation determine the points of view. In order to achieve a collective document that expresses the intention of the school, we designed a declaration on the basis of Experience Oriented starting points.

Teams can go over the logically ordered declaration and adapt it where necessary. That prevents teachers from making texts which suggest being a concept. Because the declaration of intention entails a total concept, adaptations are not self-evident. But from the changes it can become clear, where the school stands or which it is not (yet) up to.

Schools can use this declaration as orientation of visions of education, in support of forming vision or in the choice of a concept.
Schools can use this declaration to determine which starting points and consequences are evident for the school.
Schools can use this declaration in the communication to third parties.

The declaration of intention refers to all those involved, linked to the school.
The declaration concerns children, teachers, management, education supporting personnel, parents and board. The document consists of intentions and starting points, pedagogic and didactic translations and the width of care (border). Consequences for a permanent improvement of wellbeing, involvement and competences for counsellors in a ‘learning Experience Oriented organisation’ are stated.

The declaration of intention is included in the appendixes.
2) The statement of change
When the declaration of intention has been stated, the route has been determined. With this guideline in hand everything that occurs can be tackled. Then it is time for a statement:
A statement which indicates a serious change on the basis of sounds (wishes) which have sounded for a longer period, with an impact that cannot be surveyed completely.

The headmaster has listened to the ‘test problems’ in many conversations with his team. The majority of the team experiences especially the drawbacks of a system that has ‘sneaked in’. He announces during an educational meeting in content that the team may no longer make use of (CITO-) tests next school year. “We have five months to prepare for the change.”
Teachers are beside themselves with joy. “Finally released from that burden!”

The next morning a few seem to have had an unruly night. In the first instance it felt redeeming to need take tests no longer. Nevertheless it seems after taking away the test results that the teachers ask new questions. One by one, in the lobbies and in plenary sessions, the insecurities are put forward.
For one person ‘hard facts’ are proof, for another one a check.

New tests are looked at, tests are looked at again, a portfolio is studied, a conversation is held with an educational psychologist and discussions are held about the essence of the concept. The team is gradually creating an image of the advantages en disadvantages of testing and get a view how the different teachers use and interpret test data. The headmaster follows the developments conscientiously with the management team.

3) The individual wishes
While the discussion of changes is still in full swing at all kinds of moments, one’s own functioning has to be reflected in all rest in relation to the total process. Towards the end of the school year it is important that teachers get an idea of the following route that is awaiting them. Besides the normal agreements about organisation and communication, it is important to honour teachers’ individual wishes. Every teacher works with more pleasure if the organisation can (also) comply with specific wishes. A document is stated in which individual teachers indicate their impediments in order to realize the ideal situation – their image of the declaration of intention -. On sublevels and team level the parallels are brought together. Those directing the total process indicate which wishes when, how and by whom can be realised. It also becomes clear what will not (yet) be dealt with.

During a study day the ‘Consequences and Competences’ from the declaration of intention are the topic. Then the teachers leave in couples to ask each other about the competences. That is not an interrogation with a checklist. Teachers are looking together for the meaning of the competences for themselves. After some time the teachers share their insights with colleagues of the same sublevel. Finally every individual teacher determines his own points of attention. They give them back (in a matrix) tot the management. With reference to the declaration of intention and the statement of change manifold wishes have developed. It is considered which actions at sublevel and school level must be taken. What remains are the individual wishes.

From the survey:
4) Determining the way
Towards the end of the school year (or more often between times) the documents which are worked on are established.

With reference to the declaration of intention it is decided with whom that is communicated and when.
With reference to the statement of change it is determined what the definite choices are.
With reference to the individual wishes it is clear who arranges what when.

In that way the dynamic educational plan in content is ready within the determined course for the coming year!

Finally the team has chosen to maintain a few tests and to abolish a few. They introduce a simple form of portfolio. The ICT specialist orients himself on a digital portfolio. The parallel colleagues have made agreements about cooperation and tuning of the offer. The process-oriented Child Following System is going to be used Every three months these developments will be followed in a plenary session. A developmental psychologist will be invited to answer questions of the entire team. New teachers will follow the basic course and the upper levels will visit another school.

The individual wishes are evaluated. Some actions are being offered for a complete sublevel or for the entire team. A number of actions are optional. Together they endorse the importance of a good communication in this dynamic way of working. That is why the communicative training has been established for the complete team.


Conditions for a successful way:
Following 4 steps:
That is possible once a year for the broad outline, for the current processes of course more often.
An open and honestly communicating team with a corresponding view of man.
Powerful and empathic leadership with an accurate direction of the complete process. The way must be recognizable from the past and offer a challenge for the future. All participants know and endorse (the essence of) the declaration of intention and the statement of change.
With reference to the way counter-pressure and pitfalls are anticipated. It must be clear for everybody what you do together, what is different individually and what you do not do.

For example teachers must not have the idea that their item will get a chance, if no time is reserved for it.

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