Does anyone like presentations?
With all of the changes that are taking place in education, it can get rather exciting for some and scary for others. If an educational leader is trying to create a paradigm shift in instruction, grading, curriculum, etc., oftentimes the shift is made “the leader’s” to present to others. The main thing that is ignored is the fact that each team member needs to find a way to arrive at the intended conclusions independently to understand the change, believe in the change, and be onboard to fully implement the change.

This is not accomplished with a simple presentation. I have yet to hear of someone that enjoyed sitting and listening to someone present and it changed their teaching. Motivated coworkers want to question implications and provide their own insights and find ways to make it work and most importantly, debate.

The natural tendency for speakers and change agents is to have a presentation with the big unveiling idea at the end. This type of presentation offers little in terms of collaboration and conversation.

The easiest way to get members of the team on-board with change is to partner with the important members of said team to get them involved in making sure the presentation will be well-received.

To start making positive change, a great place to start is with a discussion in which everyone is involved. This is simply a thought collecting session where the thoughts of all members are included. This is best done by breaking the team into small groups of about 3-4 which careful thought into who will be working together. Obviously, more timid members’ thoughts might be stymied by the overzealous, talkative members, so pre-grouping members will be paramount. Breaking up into groups like this and have each group summarize and share their group’s findings goes a long way with making sure everyone feels heard and valued.

After this, a presentation should be used that promotes discussion and debate among team members. When any communication is coming from the presenter, it needs to communicate punchline first. Put the punchline first: When I presented as an edtech specialist, I focused on starting with the end in mind. I am sure you have been in a meeting where it was not making much sense throughout the presentation so you stopped paying attention midway through. Then, at the end, things started to make more sense. That works for comedy and telling a joke, but presentations on paradigm shifting need to be given with the punchline first. You do not want to keep your audience waiting. If you tell them right away, they can start to develop questions, rebuttals, and topics of debate over the main topic.

On that note, it is also important to give all pre-meeting materials to the audience before meeting. The power of introverts is that they have these deep insightful thoughts, however the negative is that it can take them a while to fully absorb all of the information and draw their own conclusions. Introverts who are self-aware of this will be sure read the pre-meeting materials while others may elect to skip any pre-meeting actions.

Having a team member on your side is imperative. You might be missing full participation and interaction with the crowd. A good “sidekick” can help keep you focused and aware of the audience.

Big change is possible and well-structured presentation/conversation can be what starts setting the ball in motion toward a paradigm shift.
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