by Dale Lewis

Several months ago, my colleague and our R12CC state co-lead for Kansas, Dr. Tameka Porter, authored a reflection on teacher wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic. Noting that a variety of factors—both professional and personal—contribute to positive or negative wellness and wellbeing, Dr. Porter highlighted key leadership practices that foster positive teacher wellbeing.

At the core, these leadership practices are about relationships. If we want teachers to have caring relationships with each other and their students—building a safe and supportive community of learners—teachers must be supported by leaders (e.g., principals, coaches, and mentors) who work to build strong relationships with them. Moreover, to support change and the implementation of new practices, researchers have recently suggested that the quality of relationships among school leaders, educators, and students may be vital to achieving desired outcomes.

One model Dr. Porter described that can be used to help teachers overcome the challenges encountered when adapting to change as well as support their wellbeing is the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM). With more than 50 years of research and application in a variety of contexts around the globe, CBAM’s three dimensions—Innovation Configurations, Stages of Concern (SoC), and Levels of Use (LoU)—explore how individual attitudes and beliefs shape how educators connect with their students and the learning environment.[1] By placing the individual in the center of the change process, the CBAM framework seeks to understand and support the personal side of change.

Over the next couple of months, we will continue this series of blog posts by exploring how you—as school leaders, educators, or change facilitators—can apply the core components of the CBAM framework as you navigate the disruptive changes in the current COVID-19 context to build more supportive learning environments. We will draw upon what we are learning through our work with educators and emphasize how to apply the three dimensions of the CBAM model to support both teachers’ wellbeing and their professional practice as they continue to grapple with what has likely been the most disruptive event in their careers. We will show how the three dimensions are used to understand where—based on their thoughts, feelings, and actions—individuals are in the change process, and how that knowledge can be used to strengthen relationships, support teacher wellbeing, and improve opportunities and outcomes for all students. Finally, we will end every post with a call-to-action for each of you to apply this knowledge in your own contexts with the teachers you support every day. Today, and as part of this introduction to the blog series, that call-to-action is simply to ask that you return to read the next post. See you there.

[1] Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (2020). Implementing change: Patterns, principles and potholes (5th edition). Pearson.

Dale Lewis is the Director of the Region 12 Comprehensive Center. Following almost 20 years as a special education teacher and leader, Dale has spent the past 10 years supporting and leading federally funded technical assistance centers and research labs, and multiple projects focused on supporting and scaling implementation of effective programs and practices. His work to educate school leaders on managing change and use person-centered tools to support others in the change process, spans a variety of contexts including PK–12, community college, and correctional education system.