Evaluating Teacher Wellbeing with the Concerns-Based Adoption Model by Katie Allen and Tameka Porter

Hello! We are Katie Allen and Tameka Porter, Managing Consultants at McREL International and the Deputy Director and State Lead for the State of Kansas at the Region 12 Comprehensive Center. Our work supports Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri as they implement, scale, and sustain evidence-based programs, practices, and interventions for improving educator and student outcomes.

During conversations with Superintendents across Kansas, leaders often asked us and one another how they could assess and respond to how their teachers were truly experiencing all the unprecedented changes happening as they navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, leaders wanted to know their teachers’ concerns about adapting instructional practices, routines, and programs during the pandemic so these leaders could support their teachers’ wellbeing.

At the heart of maintaining and promoting positive wellbeing when facing change in our schools and classrooms is building strong relationships. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we are excited to share with you the three components of the Concerns Based Adoption Model (CBAM) – Stages of Concern, Levels of Use, and Innovation Configurations – an approach that education leaders can apply to evaluate how teachers feel about change, are adapting to change, and how change has inspired them to innovate in the classroom.  

Hot Tip #1:

Navigate the Stages of Concern to Evaluate How Teachers Feel About Change. Teachers may express a range of worries that span the seven Stages of Concern – Unconcerned, Informational, Personal, Management, Consequence, Collaboration, and Refocusing. Say your school had to rapidly shift to a specific online learning platform. Maybe some of your teachers were more concerned about how their technical skills or lack thereof would affect their relationships with students and caregivers (Personal), or perhaps some of your educators wanted to tinker with other platforms to see if the student learning experience would be more engaging (Refocusing). Once leaders have a clear picture of how to evaluate their teachers’ concerns, they can provide appropriate and differentiated supports based on the needs their teachers express.

Hot Tip #2:

Apply the Levels of Use to Evaluate How Teachers are Adapting to Change. The COVID-19 pandemic required many of our teachers to be instant experts in multiple teaching modalities. Acquiring a new skill can be overwhelming. Before judging the efficacy of a new innovation, education leaders should look at actual changes in practice—the degree to with which staff are using the program, practice, or routine. When talking with teachers, leaders can apply the Levels of Use interview tool to assess the extent to which their staff are familiarizing themselves with and adapting to change.

Hot Tip #3:

Map Where Teachers Are in the Change Process with Innovation Configurations. Innovation Configuration (IC) maps are a process evaluation tool for developing a clear and specific portrayal of what a new program or practice looks like when it meets both teacher and student needs. IC maps describe pathways that a teacher can take to get to the ideal state of implementation as they adjust to the unique and evolving circumstances of educating children during a pandemic, which is key to not only student learning but also to the wellbeing of teachers.

Rad Resource:

 The Regional Education Lab Appalachia provides a deep dive into the benefits of using IC maps for continuous improvement.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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