Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2010). Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. New York: Broadway Books.

Switch investigates how to make lasting changes in our lives and careers.  The authors use the analogy of the Elephant as our emotional side, the Rider as our rational side and the Path as the environment we want to create change in (home or work).  In order to make a change that will endure we must "direct the rider", "motivate the elephant" and "shape the path".  Finding "bright spots" helps to focus the Rider on what's already working.  In order to get the Elephant motivated we need to appeal to people's emotional side and break down the change we want to see into small manageable pieces.  The authors provide extensive real world examples of people making a switch and provide a detailed explanation of why it worked.  
What Struck Me:
The idea of Solutions-focused therapy really resonated with me.  So often in education we look at what is wrong; how can we fix it.  However, focusing on what it would look life if the problem was solved makes so much more sense!  Guiding our students who struggle to look at situations where they are successful is more productive and helps them strive to attain that feeling more often.  
"If you are leading a change effort, you need to remove the ambiguity form your vision of change...script the critical moves, to translate aspirations into actions."
(p. 62)
"When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur...Don't look for the quick, big improvement.  Seek the small improvement one day at time."  (p.144)
"The people who change have clear direction, ample motivation, and a supportive environment.  In other words, when change works, it's because the Rider, the Elephant and the Path are all aligned in support of the switch."  (p. 255)
How can we "shrink the change", as educators, with something as big as the achievement gap?
What are some negative behaviors we'd like to change at our schools and how can we help shape the path?

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