By Youki Terada
The pandemic has taken a toll on all our institutions, and schools aren’t exempt. School leaders know that schools are closed, but teaching must go on, and; learning must go on.
Schools have moved to online learning. Educators are working from home, delivering classes to learners over the video, preparing lesson plans, collaborating with other educators, amongst many other tasks. Educators are working harder and longer, and many are exploring the edtech at their disposal. It is a big change that requires school leaders to manage their educators’ motivation to prevent loss in productivity and burn-out.
Here are a few strategies to make sure your educators remain motivated and online schooling continues smoothly.
1. Explain the vision
It is important to articulate ‘why’ the school exists, what it stands for, and how it is achieving its mission and goals. People are attracted and not by the ‘what’ or ‘how,’ but by the ‘why.’ Admittedly, formulating the ‘why ‘ is not easy. School leaders need to take a look at the ‘why’ of the school’s existence. They need first to formulate a purpose that makes sense, articulate the same lucidly, and communicate it to their educators. The school’s goals must be derived from this vision. Every action the school leaders take, every decision they make must be aligned with the vision and achieve them.
2. Champion the benefits of tech
Technology is indispensable. It solves problems, automates tasks, and helps us organize. However, like any tool, one must know the tool before it can be used. The adoption of EdTech is so much faster if educators know the benefits of the tools available to them. Invest time and energy in communicating the benefits of the tech tools the school has adopted.
3. Intrinsic motivation has to be cultivated
Intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic motivation. If the correct environment of intrinsic motivation is created, people give their maximum without being forced to. Three conditions are needed to develop an environment of intrinsic motivation for your staff:
Purpose: The educators must be clear about the school’s vision and understand how their actions contribute to achieving its goals. They need to be clear about what is expected of them.
Autonomy: The educators must be empowered to take action to achieve these goals. Educators need to know that they have the power to get the required tasks done.
Mastery: The educators must be trained and coached to use EdTech correctly and perform the needed tasks. They must be aware of or made aware of the intricacies of the technology they are using.
4. Professional development is important
If you are good at something, you will do it for free. The more you do something, the better you become. Moreover, if a task has an element of creativity and gives you a feeling of achievement, you are happy to do it, and you do it well. It makes sense to invest energy and time in training your educators to use the edtech solutions your school uses or plans to use. Of course, keep in mind what educators are interested in and good at.
5. Appoint EdTech Gurus
Every school has a few educators who are good at adopting new technology. Such educators do not need much motivation to adopt new technology. Recognize them as champions of EdTech transformation in the school. These champions are the go-to support for the staff. They are usually the frontrunners who are happy to help others and find more creative ways to use EdTech in the school. They are your catalysts for a better education.
6. Pat yourself on the back and celebrate success.
It is important to celebrate every success. School leaders have a big role to play here. Support and appreciate each educator on their EdTech adoption journey and celebrate each success as the whole school’s success. Every small celebration of success gives the entire school community a sense of achievement to adopt the change and continue to strive for better goals.
Schools can choose to gamify the use of EdTech in the school. Simply put, gamification means converting goals and work tasks into game-like-tasks with rewards and celebrate goals and achievements. A lot has been written and is freely available online about workplace gamification. However, a word of caution: Gamification works optimally when a person competes with themselves. The moment educators start competing with each other, or school leaders start comparing one educator’s achievements with another, the sense of community breaks down. It leads to demotivation, even unhealthy competition.
7. Be empathetic to others
School leaders and educators need each other more than ever. School leaders need to take a step back from their day-to-day tasks and determine how each educator is doing. Are they happy? What are their fears? How is life at home? What do our schools do to help them? Remember, it does not have to be financial. Emotional support can go a long way in building trust and comfort in your educators.