Change Management – Learning and Teaching


CEOM Leadership and Accountability Team



Compiled by:

Leanne Clark

This exemplar is designed to assist teachers and school leaders to reflect on the nature of contemporary learning and the implications for change management within their schools. It includes the following components are: two film clips; case study; reading material; an two-part reflection activity; and a further enrichment task.


Debbie Darvell, Principal at St Mark’s Primary School Dingley, discusses ‘Change Management’ in schools. This Perspective is drawn from a professional learning project undertaken by a small cluster of Catholic Primary School Prinicipals. In the film footage, Debbie explores the effects that change can have on schools, specifically in relation to the introduction of contemporary learning spaces designed to meet the needs of students in the 21st Century.  Issues discussed include how to implement the change required and addresses the challenges that arise during the change process.

Principals’ Professional Dialogue | Pedagogy & Space - Change & its Impacts

Change Process

  • The principal cluster project highlighted teachers learning together to create contemporary spaces for 21st century learning
  • This process is ongoing

Caving Metaphor

“The long parade or caving expedition”

The people at the front

  • have the light
  • can see the emerging cave and are excited by it
  • have the skills
  • are prepared to put up with the muck and the mess
  • can be so ‘gung ho’ they miss the cave paintings

The people at the back:

  • don’t have the light
  • can’t see the cave
  • don’t have the skill nor the will
  • are not prepared to put up with the muck and the mess
  • just want to get out of the cave

Reflection Activity One

  1. Identify an existing change context in your school.
  2. Reflecting on the ‘Caving’ metaphor from Debbie Darvell’s presentation, identify any useful realisations that are worth considering in the context of your school’s change process. How might this learning further support the management of change in your school? What actions could be undertaken and by whom?

Core reading

Read the article Choosing Strategies for Change by Kotter and Schlesinger.
Harvard Business Review,

July –August 2008
Accessed 31st August


Reflection Activity Two

Dealing with Resistance to Change

People react in a variety of ways to organisational change due to individual past experiences.  How the school implements change can impact greatly on acceptance of the change. 

  1. Using the core reading from Kotter and Schlesinger’s article, list the approach/es that you have implemented so far to facilitate the existing change process in your school. For each approach taken, identify if it has had a positive or negative impact on achieving the change.
  2. Reflecting on the range of approaches, which could you do more of to support the change? Which could you do less of and why? Based on this reflection, what will be the next key steps to take? Who will be responsible?

REFERENCE: Kotter. J & Schlesinger.L.  Choosing Strategies for Change, Harvard Business Review, July – August. 2008 – www.hbr.org

Enrichment task

Read the article 8 Forces for Leaders of Change by Michael Fullan et al. National Staff Development Council, Fall 2005. Vol, 26 NO. 4

File accessed 31st of August 2010

‘Presences of the core concepts does not guarantee success, but their absences ensures failure.'


For Discussion:

What additional ideas does Fullan’s article offer to strengthen and assist those being challenged by the process of change? Consider this from the perspective of those leading and facilitating change and also from the perspective of those being led to achieve the change.

For Action:

Based on this learning, develop a succinct vision statement or guiding principle for managing change in your school.