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How do you change paradigms?

September 23, 2012

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You keep pointing at the anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. You keep speaking and acting, loudly and with assurance, from the new one. You insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. You don’t waste time with reactionaries; rather, you work with active change agents and with the vast middle ground of people who are open-minded.

Thomas Kuhn paraphrased by Donella Meadows in Thinking in Systems (p. 164).

Via email Michelle tells me I must watch the seeds grow (thanks, Michelle! I needed this reminder).

Paradigm shifting is a slow business.

During Tai Chi sessions the instructor would always tell me I went too fast; she called me the “Racehorse Goanna“.

I stopped taking Tai Chi class.

Another reminder: Be Here Now.


Selected reference

Meadows, D. (2009). Thinking in Systems A Primer. London: Earthscan. Retrieved September 20, 2012 from EBSCO host.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 1:50 pm

    You sound a bit like me, Sam! I can see so clearly where I want the school/kids/teachers to be, even think I can help move things in the right direction, but I get impatient and seem to want to get there now. In a previous school, when I asked my principal for advice on how to approach a particular aspect of PD (paradigm shifting in regards to teaching students with special needs…), he offered that I wanted to run when everyone else was still walking, and I needed to learn to walk with others to talk them where I wanted them to go….so I still remind myself of this on occasion! (And also, the importance of walking WITH others so we share the journey…)

    • September 25, 2012 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the reflective comments, Denise.
      I am working on patience (any alternative – such as frustration – serves only to disguise avenues for finding flow).
      It is very reassuring to learn that other people struggle with the improvement process; my reading suggests that emotional awareness and honesty are also essential for building a culture of trust.
      I’ll keep walking on the path!

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