Here in New Hampshire, we struggled through a long and difficult winter this year followed by a spring that came on so quickly and forcefully that the world seemed changed overnight. From the moment the last snowflake melted, the daffodils at my doorstep seemed to grow like time-lapsed photography before my very eyes. The grass in the backyard went from matted and brown to upright and sparkling green in less than one week. So this year, in particular, I’m reminded of the power of transformation.
We’ve heard it before – change is scary. It’s difficult. Change forces us out of our comfort zones and often requires a leap of faith. But change is also exciting. It’s rejuvenating. It asks us to take a look at where we are and to move toward something even better. As a sign in the window of a local shop reads, “Spring reminds us how beautiful change can be.” In this regard, I can’t help but reflect on the exciting and wholesale transformation taking place at Plymouth State University. As University President, Donald Birx, and co-author and professor, Annette Holba, explain, the university aspires to fundamentally change how we approach higher education. Through the innovative restructuring of both curriculum and administrative structure, PSU is leading the way toward a more truly integrative view of post-secondary teaching and learning.
Just as PSU is asking us to look at education differently, the other authors in this edition have shared their insights in hopes of inspiring changes in educational practice. In “How New Hampshire’s Educators Can Stimulate Growth in Science”, author Thom Smith makes a plea to change how we educate new teachers in the field of science. And author Julie Grimm makes the case for introducing mindfulness and meditation into our educational practices while Tomkins and Ward share the benefits of a coaching model designed to improve the adoption of professional development initiatives. PSU authors Meyer, Sandy, and Everson ask us to reconsider the notion of conflict and explain how to use it constructively in the classroom.
There is no denying that social media has already changed classrooms at all levels of education. Authors Carrobis and Harrises offer suggestions on how schools can navigate this new medium, highlighting the opportunity school leaders have to harness its power with a planned and managed approach to a school’s online presence. Julie Moser writes about an online professional learning network leveraging technology to come together in the name of transforming their own teaching practices and improving student learning.
Sometimes we can see the impact of change on a grand scale, and sometimes it’s measured by individual successes. In “Using Phonemic Awareness to Help Jade Crack the Code,” author Karen Deighan tells the story of how one intervention helped a young English Language Learner begin to read. And Michelle Robinson writes of the powerful impact of a high school program designed to support all students in college and career preparation.
Whether using a new medium, adopting a new teaching practice, or advocating for educational reform, all of our authors are, in their own way, asking us to change – to transform our current understandings of what works in education and to reach for the future. I hope the stories in this edition of the NHJE inspire all educators to remain open to change and transformation in their own classrooms, schools, and organizations.
Stacey Curdie, Co-Editor