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[RELC 36.

2 (2005) 117-136]
DOI: 10.1177/0033688205055566

MANAGING INNOVATION IN LANGUAGE EDUCATION:
A COURSE FOR ELT CHANGE AGENTS

Alan Waters
Lancaster University (UK)
A.Waters@lancaster.ac.uk

Ma. Luz C. Vilches
Ateneo de. Manila, Philippines
mvilches@ateneo.edu

ABSTRACT
As a steady stream of recent papers indicates, ELT curriculum reform
projects are not always as successful as they might be. One overall rea-
son for this situation appears to be a failure to adequately take into
account concepts and practices from the world of innovation manage-
ment. This paper describes an attempt to contribute towards ameliorat-
ing this problem by detailing the content, activities, learning processes
and outcomes of a short in-service training course on managing innova-
tion in language education, delivered ‘on-site’ to a cross-section of
change agents involved in a major educational reform initiative cur-
rently being undertaken in the Philippines. Data from the course are used
to throw light on its value as an innovation management awareness-
raising vehicle. Although illustrated in terms of a particular innovation
context, the course is felt to be also of potential relevance to similar
situations elsewhere.

In recent years, innovation in English language teaching, either on its own
or as part of a programme of wider curriculum reform, has become in-
creasingly widespread. However, as a growing part of the literature on
the subject indicates (e.g. Li 1998; Karavas-Doukas 1998; Carless 1998,
2002; Bruton 2002a and b; Nunan 2003; Weddell 2003), innovation pro-
jects of this kind have not always succeeded as hoped. Taken as a whole,

© 2005 SAGE Publications (London, Thousand Oaks CA and New Delhi)

118 Regional Language Centre Journal 36.2 (2005)

it appears that a chief underlying cause of this problem has been a failure
to employ appropriate innovation implementation strategies. Innovations
of the kind reported in these studies appear too often to have been con-
ceived of in idealized rather than localized terms, and the primary focus
has tended to be on the design of the innovation product rather than the
management of the implementation process. In other words, there seems
to have been something of a failure in such projects to learn and success-
fully apply the lessons of innovation theory and practice, both from out-
side the ELT field (see, e.g., Fullan 2001) and from within it (see, e.g.,
Markee 1997).
This paper is concerned with trying to contribute, in a small way, to
reducing this problem. It describes the design and implementation of
a short, introductory in-service training course for ELT change agents,
intended to raise their awareness of both theoretical and applied aspects
of language education innovation management, in the hope of stimulating
better practice in this area of ELT. The focus in what follows is on illus-
trating the kind of content and training processes which can be included
in such a course, based on the authors’ experiences in delivering a version
of it to a cross-section of senior language teaching change agents involved
in the implementation of a major curriculum renewal project in the Philip-
pines. The innovation situation is first of all outlined. Then, in the main
part of the paper, the training course as it unfolded is described, through
an intertwined account of its content and processes. Finally, evidence for
its potential value is discussed, and overall conclusions are drawn.

The Innovation Situation
The training course in question was developed and piloted in 2002 in
connection with the ‘2002 Basic Education Curriculum’ (BEC) project, a
large-scale educational reform initiative currently being undertaken by the
Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines.
In the English language teaching component of the new curriculum, one
of the main instructional strategies being introduced is ‘Content-Based
Instruction’, characterized in the curriculum documentation as follows:
Content-Based Instruction (CBI) is the integration of content learning
with language teaching aims. It refers to the concurrent study of lan-
guage and subject matter, with the form and sequence of language
presentation dictated by content material. The language curriculum is
centered on the academic needs and interests of the learner, and crosses

reflects these traditions. however. . from Grade I upwards. the BEC can be seen as involving teachers and learners in a signi- ficant shift in orientation at the level of teaching-learning methods as well. interactive and col- laborative approach: This curriculum promotes more mutual interaction between students and teachers. and to favour teaching-learning activities which were expository in nature and aimed at establishing and evaluating understanding of a set body of knowledge. has acted as the medium of instruction for certain school subjects. ‘with the form and sequence of lan- guage presentation dictated by content material’ (DepEd undated: 31). The main current secondary-level ELT textbook. and between teachers of different disciplines (collaborative teaching). English teaching materials have therefore shown relevance for some time to the language requirements of study in other curriculum subject areas. the inten- tion is to reverse this procedure. In certain ways. being composed partly of subject-matter specific to the study of English and partly relating to other subject areas. (DepEd undated: 9) Thus. the introduction of CBI can be seen as a further de- velopment of a long-standing tradition in Philippines’ ELT. classroom observations carried out by the authors as part of their involvement in the 1995–1999 Philippines English Language Teaching (PELT) Project indicated that the teaching approach of Phil- ippine secondary school teachers of English tended to be predominantly whole-class and textbook-based. as explained above. In addition. analy- sis of the materials reveals they have nevertheless had a largely internal. with texts from other subject areas being used as a vehicle for the contextualization of language points. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 119 the barrier between the language and subject matter courses.1 stemming from the late 1980s/early 1990s. Under CBI. The approach aims at developing the learner’s academic language skills (DepEd undated: 31). between students themselves (collaborative learning). the new curriculum envisages a more participatory. in addition to being a subject area in its own right. ELT-centric reference point in the framing of teaching content. However. English. pupil behaviour was character- istically passive and teacher-dependent (Waters 1995. between students and multi-media sources. between students and instructional materials. such as mathematics and science. 1996). From the introduction of the 1974 Bilingual Education Policy onwards. However.

In order to provide national coverage. with the main learning outcomes being elicited from these interactions. in order to stimulate discussion among the workshop participants and between them and ourselves.e. and then relate it to a series of problem-solving tasks. and so on.e.2 (2005) It was in order to raise awareness of innovation management issues re- lated to the introduction of CBI in this situation that the authors were invited by the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) and British Council Philippines to provide a two-day training course (‘workshop’). school principals. viz: ‘what is there to be managed?’ and ‘how might it be managed?’. ‘How big/difficult/complex are the changes likely to be?’) x Formulating an implementation management approach (i. comprising regional basic education adminis- trators. . 45 participants. it was decided that the course should focus on attempting to explore answers to two main innovation manage- ment questions. It was attended on each occa- sion by c. and because of the consequent importance of gaining an understanding of concepts and pro- cedures related to both aspects. and the frequent dis- cussions they held with each other and members of NEAP about them. heads of department. regional language education advisors. based on the regular and detailed field-notes the authors made on the workshop processes and learning outcomes as they emerged. teacher trainers. It therefore covered the following four overlapping and interlocking areas of content: x Understanding the innovation (i.120 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. the workshop was repeated in three different locations throughout the country. entitled ‘Managing Innovation in Language Education’.e. Course Content and Process Because the nature of an innovation and the task of managing its imple- mentation are closely connected (Fullan 2001: 8). and for whom?’) x Appraising the management task (i. ‘master teachers’.e. The course training approach was to provide a small amount of input for each of these topics. ‘What kind of change management strategies are needed?’). ‘What kinds of changes is the innovation likely to involve. for senior ELT personnel involved in implementing the new curriculum. attempting to answer the ques- tion: ‘What is the true nature of the innovation in question?’) x Identifying potential changes (i. What occurred in each of these parts of the course is described and discussed in the sections which follow.

covering its definition. this activity was based on the view that most innovations are in reality a blend of both the old and the new. As was explained to the participants. the workshop participants were in general agreement about the potential congruence between CBI and exist- ing approaches of features such as the following: x overall educational goals x primacy of communicative competence over language knowledge x four skills focus x cross-curriculum ‘reach’. as a first principle. for sufficient depth of understanding of an innovation to be developed among those responsi- ble for managing its implementation. theoretical princi- ples and typical classroom procedures. attempts to introduce innovations whose true characteristics have not been properly apprehended. namely the need. Regarding perceived similarities. Identifying what is already familiar in an innovation can create a greater sense of security among implementers. with related follow-up discussion. Identifying Potential Changes Next. since the literature on innovation management abounds with examples of what Fullan (2001: 37) refers to as ‘false clarity’ or ‘painful unclarity’. . that is. to establish a consensus of understanding about the nature of the innovation in question. It was clear from the interactions at this stage in each of the workshops that. first of all. by attempting. It was felt important to start in this way. others seemed a good deal less familiar with it. in the devel- opment of succeeding ‘technologies’. while some participants appeared to have a sound grasp of CBI. both in order to encourage deeper-level processing of the input about CBI as well as to initiate the second part of the workshop—on ‘Identifying potential changes’—the participants were asked to work together in order to consider in what ways they perceived CBI to (1) resemble and (2) differ from current ELT traditions and practices in the Philippines basic education system. As Mensch (1975) puts it. providing several opportunities to reinforce the main innovation management point in question. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 121 Understanding the Innovation The ‘understanding the innovation’ phase of the workshops began with a brief input concerning CBI. that is. These differences continued to surface throughout the remaining parts of the workshops. while being clear and realistic about which elements are genuinely new can help man- agers to focus their efforts where they are likely to be needed most. it tends to be the case that ‘tradition guides the transition’.

once again. establishing conceptual clarity in this area did not seem to be immediate or always straightforward. since they are two of the features that can be regarded as also central to CBI. thus. for example: x scheduling less flexible x more time for English x more open-ended questions in testing x less classroom level testing x greater use of ICT (when possible) x integration of values education. The irony of attempting to introduce a new approach which contains ele- ments that have apparently not been successfully translated into practice as part of previous approaches was not lost on a number of the workshop participants. by distinguishing between simi- larities at the level of hoped-for. and in terms of real-life practice on the other. . This was another occasion. several of the responses fell into the latter category. to assume that some participants therefore lacked sufficient knowledge of CBI to be able to analyse its more central features. Aspects which fell into the former category were: x integration (of skills. when an opportunity was pro- vided to underscore the danger of change agents assuming they have a well-developed level of understanding of the innovation they are respon- sible for managing (cf.122 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. theoretical ideals on the one hand. Participants also made a point of qualifying their responses regarding some other features perceived as similar. and provoked some insightful discussions. there was once more a good deal of discussion among participants before any kind of consensus emerged.) x student-centred teaching techniques. subject areas. despite the prior CBI- specific input and reminders to focus in discussions on only this element of the new curriculum rather than its more general aspects. In terms of perceived differences. and it seemed reasonable. It was possible to see these items as having an indirect connection with the CBI element of the new curriculum. Thus. again underlining the difficulty of establishing clarity in this area and the importance of giving it due consideration. etc. Rogers 1995: 164).2 (2005) These perceptions were the product of a good deal of small-group and plenary discussion. It was noteworthy that these two aspects provoked this reaction. that is. but they did not seem the most obvious or important aspects of it to have been chosen to focus on.

etc. however. between teachers. such as the following: x greater integration with other subjects (especially science). the importance of being aware of the full range of potential changes that need to be managed).g. of four skills. This point was there- fore emphasized. As Fullan points out. This juncture in the workshops thus provided an opportunity for this point to once again be reinforced. and among students x more thematic organization of work x greater focus on thinking skills x other materials used. discussion centred around the way that identifying continuity in the midst of change was an important step in attempting to manage the implementation of an innovation. therefore. While the wis- dom of an innovation policy of this kind can be questioned. with multiple. x more co-operative/collaborative approach to learning. since ‘con- nectivity’ of this kind can reduce the amount of uncertainty and therefore fear and anxiety among implementers about what is to happen to more manageable proportions. perhaps as a result of the initial focus on attempting to identify similarities. It is interesting to note first of all the number. mutatis mutandis. the reality for teachers (and. and so on). in practice it nevertheless appears to occur only too frequently. It is also worth noting that most of the items in this list were perceived by the participants to constitute relative rather than absolute differences (as indicated by the use of terms such as ‘greater’. Mensch 1975). rather than a ‘paradigm shift’ (cf. creating the potential for a more positive attitude towards the proposed changes (Hutchinson 1992. less on grammar. ‘more’. teachers and students. general agreement also emerged about a num- ber of more CBI-specific differences. In particular. that is. As already noted. in reality. ‘not just’. although this insight does not always seem to be perceived and communicated as it might. not just textbooks x more interactive teaching techniques/teacher as facilitator x greater emphasis on functional use of language. along with the related innovation management implica- tions (e. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 123 In due course. simultaneous innovations (Fullan 2001: 52). . inno- vations often actually represent a furthering of existing trends or ideals. rather. for change agents as well) is often not so much having to deal with only a single but. Markee 1997: 50). extent and complexity of the proposed changes which were identified. such a state of affairs probably exists more frequently than tends to be acknowledged.

they were also seen to encompass new roles (becoming a producer of teaching materials) and new organizational procedures (team-working with subject-teachers). the teaching materials.124 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. and collaboration with teachers of other subjects x Identifying with and committing oneself to the new approach x Time for. for example. (2) teachers. understanding. and in what main ways. Their reflections produced the following main outcomes. and (3) change agents themselves. ‘research’. Demands on teachers: x Learning appropriate teaching techniques x Production of teaching materials and other teacher/learning resources x Integration issues: designing integrated lessons. Participants were asked to work together in order to consider what demands the introduction of CBI was likely to impose on (1) learners. the teacher. individual and attitu- dinal dimensions of their learning. for example. 1. etc. the extent of the potential changes in this case were perceived by the workshop participants to go well beyond ‘simply’ acquiring a new set of teaching methods. These points were seen as indicating a need for potential development by the learners in terms of. Rather. respectively. There was also recognition that major changes of these kinds would not take place automatically or overnight. 2. As this list makes clear. since it was pointed out that it is in terms of the meanings that individuals in particular settings give to innovations that they are put into practice (Fullan 2001). Demands on learners: x To become more involved in the learning process by interacting and collaborating closely with other learners. the social. developing resources. etc. . scientific subject-matter. x To become more willing and able to accept responsibility for the management of their learning x To develop a positive attitude towards and ability to cope with the transition to the new teaching and learning methods. liaising with other teachers.2 (2005) The workshops moved next to the task of attempting to indicate who would be affected by the changes that had been identified.

for example. 3. as well as with respect to behaviours and skills. being ‘a good listener to teachers’ problems’. The method of undertaking this further form of analysis was to ask the participants to consider the introduction of CBI into the innovation sit- uation in question in terms of Rogers’ ‘Characteristics of Innovations’ . an ordered agenda for change could be developed. In this way. with high priority items distinguished from those likely to require relatively less of change agents’ immediate time and energy. Up to this point. in particular. in order to identify which aspects were likely to be perceived as most novel. In this way it was pointed out that. By the end of this stage in the workshops. being able to ‘trouble-shoot implementation difficulties’. the time factor was perceived as particularly important by the groups. Appraising the Management Task The next stage in the workshops attempted to build on the previous phase by helping the participants to develop a set of innovation implementation management priorities. But. In addition. ‘provision of positive learning atmosphere for growth by teachers in dealing with innovation’. Finally. participants once again identified the need for change in terms of attitude. It was therefore explained that a further sifting of the findings from the initial innovation analysis needed to be undertaken. and so on. ‘making sure the correct form of the curriculum is implemented’. which aspects of the innovation were likely to be perceived as most novel. so that they could become the main focus of management attention and support. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 125 Also. as some of the participants had noted in the first part of the workshop. novelty in innovations is often not absolute but relative. the main concern had been with identifying areas of novelty. Demands on change agents: A number of the demands on change agents that were identified resem- bled those for learners and teachers. mention was made of the need to use and/or develop and refine a wide range of innovation management skills. teachers and change agents themselves. in other words. enthusiasm for and ownership of the new approach. knowledge of CBI teaching procedures. among others. the participants appeared to have begun to develop an appreciation of. the beginnings of an agenda for managing the innovation implementation process had begun to emerge. such as ‘helping to make the innovation friendly…and relevant to teachers and learners’. and what kind of demands these features would probably make on learners.

one of the main results which emerged from the participants’ analyses was an increased awareness of the difficulty of being sure about how some aspects of the innovation would be perceived. whereas another argued that what was involved was a ‘paradigm shift in teaching and learning styles—priority is shift in teaching style from chalk-talk (90%) to teacher as facilitator of . in order to reinforce the point that innovation is a matter of individual perception rather than objective fact. (Rogers 1995: 17). both in terms of perceptions of close compatibility (e. Compatibility. Similarly.2 As Rogers points out. ‘new roles for teachers and learners in the classroom’ ). and Observability. in order to attempt to account for perceptions that were likely to be shared by the majority rather than by only the few.2 (2005) (1995: 15-17). ‘concerns 4 macro skills’). with respect to relative advantage. and thus of the complexity of the innovation man- agement task. were seen to be likely to adopt an ‘not experimentation again!’ attitude. Relative Advantage. in some other cases. The participants were asked to do this analysis from the likely points of view of the main ‘end users’ of the new approach. namely. observability and less com- plexity will be adopted more rapidly than other innovations’.g. The analysis in terms of the ‘compatibility’ characteristic acted as something of a cross-check on the perceptions that had arisen as a result of the similarities versus differences activity in the second stage of the workshop.g. on the other hand. compatibility.g. and so the perspective of the change agent and the end-user may well differ. Thus. one group put forward the proposition that ‘role of teacher as facilitator = highly compatible’.126 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. Thus. ‘emphasis on integration’) and incompatibility (e. research indicates that ‘Innovations that are perceived by individuals as having greater relative advantage. Both types of analysis are concerned with trying to establish the degree of novelty of the innovation. A number of responses did indeed serve to reinforce the picture established earlier. that is. whereas others. some participants felt it was pos- sible that some teachers might adopt the view that ‘anything to improve the current situation is worthwhile’. trialability. in addition to a number of the expected perceptions. With respect to the first criterion (relative dis/advantage). It was also stressed that the most productive mental picture to have of such end-users was probably of those who were typical or average. a strong degree of disagreement and/or confusion sur- faced. some participants made the point that ‘learners’ perceptions would be dependent on teach- ers’ attitude and perception’. teach- ers and learners. rela- tive compatibility (e. Complexity Trialability. However.

and thus of the need to problematize the innovation management task. The third characteristic—‘complexity’—produced a consensus which tended in the direction of recognizing the inherent complexity involved in introducing CBI into the innovation situation. ‘pilot year—opportunity for continuous modification’. logistics. nearer ‘the action’. via write-shops on integrated lesson plan exemplars. and so on. ‘similar approach for long time in science high schools already’. for example. . ‘on-going clarification. these responses made it possi- ble to emphasize the importance in innovation management of ensuring that activities aimed at supporting implementation are uniformly distrib- uted (and also of not simply assuming that this has occurred as intended). One group summed up the matter thus: ‘What to teach of how much by when to whom?’! On the other hand. However. several such initiatives were cited as already having occurred. ‘discussions of CBI demonstration lessons in trainings’ (sic). etc. that is. at a number of levels. a subtle. Discussion revealed that the perception here was that (in)compatibility may be a function of chronology: greater ini- tially. an insightful variation on the concept of relative compatibility discussed earlier. on the other hand. students. since in two of the three workshops. that is. This discrepancy in perceptions may have occurred because the third group of participants were mainly from the educational regions closer to the national capital. Such contradictions once again provided an opportunity to high- light for participants the difficulty of establishing a consensus in these matters. but not always per- ceived that way’.. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 127 learning’. once again giving rise to an opportunity for workshop participants to reflect on the complex psychology of perceptions that tend to surround innovations. The responses concerning the ‘trialability’ characteristic also provided participants with insight into the complexities of real-world innovation management. partially-dissenting view was ex- pressed in the comment: ‘May be relatively simple. In the third workshop. but possibly less so later on. and so on. for example. materials. and therefore the need to take this perspective into account. and feedback on subsequent trial’. A further interesting observation was contributed by a group which said ‘collaboration between content-subject teacher and the English teacher—a question of time’. there seemed to be only limited awareness of any activity having already been undertaken in the innovation situation to provide opportunities for staged experimenta- tion with and fine–tuning of the innovation. teachers. since the new curriculum was being implemented simultaneously in all parts of the country. perhaps.

However. a number of other responses showed signs of thinking which had extended beyond the main focus of the input. some sample teacher- produced lesson plans and ‘supervision/lesson observation makes it visible to supervisor. an interesting fur- ther variation on the notion that innovation typically co-exists side by side with more familiar territory. by this stage. etc. for example: x Innovation has to come from within the individual x Innovation involves new concepts as well as practices x During an innovation. This activity produced statements which re- flected matters that had been part of the direct focus of the work. teacher learning materials. ‘no clear evidence of mastery of language so far’.g. At this point. it was possible to find pockets of existing practice that could be used for this purpose. rather than thinking only in terms of having to create completely new examples. such as the following: x CBI is a paradigm shift x Innovation needs to match Rogers’ characteristics positively x Innovation success or failure dependent on recipient’s perception x What presently ‘new’ may be re-appearance in fresh form of older ideas.128 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. though it was also stated that there were ‘Handbooks in English’. pleasant learning context x Learner is dependent on skill of teacher (e.g. before proceeding to the final part of the workshops. teacher. with regard to the ‘observability’ characteristic. the participants were asked to discuss and then present any important insights they felt had arisen so far. A further observation made by some groups was that potential exemplars already existed in the form of other projects and curricula. CBI) and latter is dependent on support of manager [change agent]—inter- dependent x Important for paradigm flexibility so innovation would come in as advantageous and as simply as possible x Innovation is education in itself. etc’. there was general agreement that there was ‘not much in the form of teaching mate- rials’. e. These insights indicate that.2 (2005) Finally.g. a number of the participants had already begun to re-process the input in terms of general implica- tions for innovation management approaches (e. that is. teachers need scaffolding more than ever. as already discussed. by seeing it as involv- ..

‘rational empirical’ and ‘normative re-educative’ change strategies (Chin and Benne 1969) was provided. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 129 ing development of individual perceptions. The remaining part of the workshops was devoted to the ‘how’. In other words. This part of the course focused on three fundamental aspects of the area. They were also able to formulate varied sets of perceived potential benefits and drawbacks associated with them. examples of the former put forward were: x Provides mandate x Makes people jump x Submission x Task-oriented x Strict implementation x Immediate results x Manifestation of true personality—reactions will become clear. team-based learning environment). the change process and the change agent. Participants appeared to have relatively little difficulty in identifying a wide range of practices associated with each of the strategies. what kind of CBI implementation strategy might be most appropriate. and (2) what the main advantages and disadvantages of each of them might be. in approximately equal proportions. . Of particular interest were their perceptions about (1) advantages of the power coercive strategy and (2) disadvantages of the normative re-edu- cative one.3 Then. which is described in the next section. happily foreshadowing the final stage of the work- shop. since these elements were seen as providing the participants with a basic change management ‘tool-kit’. and the related implications for implementation management. After a brief overview of this phase of the workshops. as already explained. in order to try to further their understanding of their operation and to begin to appraise their potential from an innovation management point of view. the participants were asked to think of (1) examples of how each of the strategies can manifest itself in practice. the main focus of the workshops was on examining the ‘what’ aspect of CBI as an innovation—its nature as a teaching approach. in a supportive. a short input regarding ‘power coercive’. Formulating an Implementation Management Approach Up until this point. Thus. namely: change strategies. here participants were encouraged to consider. given the picture of the innovation management task uncovered so far.

and the associated change management implications..130 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. but the perhaps unusually balanced sets of pros and cons of this kind which were produced for each of the strategies led felicitously in each of the workshops to the emer- gence of the overall points that (1) there is no single best change strategy. time-consuming—delays development x Motivation and commitment may wane because of the long proc- ess of time in consultation x Resource-hungry x Domination by aggressive minority x Pandering to whims of some pupils x May cause conflict. Both the disadvantages of the power coercive strategy and the potential benefits of the normative re-educative one were also much in evidence in participants’ responses. to man- age resistance. in order to devise the ‘mix’ that seems to best suit the aspect of the innovation situation to hand—a contingency-based macro-strategy (cf. Blanchard et al. Bridges and Mitchell 2000) and then asked to consider its impli- cations for the innovation management process. as suggestions may not be accommodated x Creates opportunities for subversion and sabotage x Risk of too much deviation from original plan x Requires hierarchical acceptance. the need for the change agent to establish legitimacy. trust.g. love and collaboration approach’ to change. 1987. when people are subjected to rapid and/or major change (e. in the light of an appreciation of their respective strengths and weaknesses. of course. ‘cul- . and (2) that the change agent will usually need to adopt an eclectic ap- proach.2 (2005) Underlying such a list appeared to be an awareness of what Buchanan and Boddy (1992) refer to as the ‘political perspective’ on change manage- ment. e. participants were first of all introduced to the concept of the ‘Transition Curve’ (TC) (see. that is. Some of the potential drawbacks in the normative re-educative strategy perceived by the participants were as follows: x Slow. Markee 1997: 68). Thus. picking and choosing dynamically from among the three (and others). Briefly.g. These examples indicate that there was also a good deal of awareness among the participants of some of the limitations of what Pettigrew (1985) refers to as the ‘truth. and so on. the TC shows how. The second area dealt with in this part of the workshops was to do with trying to increase understanding of the nature of the change process itself.

This part of the workshop concluded with a brief introduction to the kinds of skills and knowledge needed by the change agent.. It was pointed out that Buchanan and Boddy’s research into the role of the change agent indicated that.) and ‘backstaging’ (politically- oriented processes aimed at. technical knowledge of an innovation. after some initial fluctuation. in terms of its three main ‘agenda’ (‘content’. ‘testing’ (trying out new ways of perceiving/behav- ing in a closely-structured way). of the three agenda.. This either remains the case in the long-term or gradually reverses via a series of well-defined stages. and ‘process’. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 131 ture shock’). countering resistance).. people skills-oriented one that tends to be most crucial in ‘high-risk’ innovation settings such as . incompetence. i. one of the main points to be established was that the TC perspective has the potential to help the change agent have a much better (and more sympathetic) understanding of the causes of the resistance. Kennedy 1999). ‘control’. etc.g. ‘public performance’ (being rational. generally referred to as ‘acceptance’ (of the inevita- bility of the change). open. facility in administrative procedures. that is. ‘search for meaning’ (deeper-level probing for understanding of the new reality) and ‘integration’ (establish- ing personal ownership of the change at a variety of levels). In discussing these ideas. to experience a marked decline in their ability to cope with the new situation.. Some of the innovation management implications of the TC perceived by the partici- pants were as follows: x Share awareness of the change process with the teachers x Identify which stage the different teachers are at x Accept the reality of the stage where the teacher is at x At an early stage. learners) typically exhibit when involved in attempting to put a new teaching approach into practice (cf. it is the third. not just dwell on super- vising role. e. anxiety and so on which teachers (and. for that matter. they tend.e. This consisted of an explanation of Buchanan and Boddy’s change agent model (Bu- chanan and Boddy 1992. i.e. i. people man- agement skills) and its two main ‘activities’.e. Fullan 2001: 30-38). consultative. provision of maximum tolerance and under- standing until turning point occurs x Enlist support of early adopters to help other Ts have the convic- tion to be the same x Focus on process rather than product x Manager to emphasize supporting role.

especially regarding the perceived importance and relevance of the training. as in a play. in passim. it is backstaging which is often crucial for achieving a satisfactory public per- formance. it was stressed that skill in handling interpersonal rela- tions was therefore a vital part of the expertise needed by the change agent. nearly all of the responses were very favourable. A number of participants contrib- uted interesting scenarios which. and that. After this input. and identifying such features can help the change agent to bolster the feelings of security needed for suc- cessful implementation. alongside their more novel features. In short. Even if the inevitable ‘halo’ and other distorting effects associated with evalua- tions of this kind are discounted. it seems clear the main overall view of the majority of the participants regarding the subject-matter of the work- shops was very positive. understanding was achieved of the way that. Conclusion Views about the overall value of each of the workshops were solicited from the participants by anonymous questionnaire. and to describe how this had or could occur. Also. similarly. the importance of clarity on the part of the change agent about the nature of the innovation in question was established. the workshops appeared to give rise to a number of major learning outcomes.2 (2005) major educational reform initiatives. in the first part (and. and no main trend amongst them. because of their correlation with . rather than objective fact. Rather.4 There were very few criticisms or suggestions for improvement. for example. in related discussion.132 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. participants were given a list of the ‘competencies’ (skills) associated with the process agenda and asked to think of situa- tions where they had or might use them in innovation management. This section also led to a focus on the need to account for the way that an innovation is experienced by the end-user as a matter of individual perception. Thus. The workshops then concluded with a brief summary of overall points. a number of insights emerged about the way that an innovation can be analysed in order to determine which of its features are most likely to require the change agent’s attention. as has been shown in previous sections. it is also possible to detect ele- ments of continuity in most innovations. in the second. provided useful illustrations of the importance for innovation management of developing appropriate interpersonal skills. In the third section. elsewhere).

2002a ‘From Tasking Purposes to Purposing Tasks’. K. . Corey (eds. It was relatively short but included a reasonably comprehensive coverage of the field. in W. as a result.2: 389-96.). It is there- fore hoped that. W. Boddy 1992 The Expertise of the Change Agent (Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall).). Zigarmi and D. D.org/ leaderbooks/L2L/spring2000/bridges.5 REFERENCES Blanchard.pfdf. Zigarmi 1987 Leadership and the One Minute Manager (London: Fontana). Chin. It would seem feasible for courses of this kind to be run in simi- lar situations elsewhere.. greater success achieved in the design and implementation of ELT innovations. K. Chin and K. 3rd edn): 22-45.3: 296-97. in S. and K. P. Benne 1976 ‘General Strategies for Effecting Changes in Human Systems’. R.3: 280-88. Bennis. and in the fourth. understanding of the principles and practice of innovation management can become more widespread in ELT change situations.G.H.E. Carless. the management implications of the change process. Bruton. 2005). Morris (eds. Benne. Rinehart & Winston. WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 133 the likelihood of success or failure. Its problem-solving approach yielded a series of rich discussions and important learning outcomes. http://www.D. Bridges. 2002b ‘When and How the Language Development in TBI?’. A... issues were raised to do with the selection of appropriate change management strategies. The Planning of Change (New York: Holt. and the importance of interpersonal skills in innovation management. ELT Journal 56.html (accessed May. Timpson and P. D. 2002 ‘Implementing Task-based Learning with Young Learners’. and S. and. ELT Journal 56.P. R.. ELT Journal 56. Curriculum and Assessment for Hong Kong (Hong Kong: Open Uni- versity of Hong Kong): 223-44.D. Mitchell 2000 Leading Transitions: A New Model for Change. 1998 ‘Managing Systemic Curriculum Change: A Critical Analysis of Hong Kong’s Target-Oriented Curriculum Initiative’. both the overall evaluations and the course training processes suggest that exposure to major insights from the recent literature on man- aging educational innovations via a course of the kind which has been described can be of considerable potential relevance and value to ELT change agents working in curriculum renewal situations of the kind in question. Buchanan. and D. via such a vehicle. Thus.

G. 1992 ‘The Management of Change’. Karavas-Doukas.134 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. TESOL Quarterly 37. Innovation and Management (Oxford: Blackwell). September 1995. Rogers. N.2: 126-34.4: 677-800.M. A. 1985 The Awakening Giant: Continuity and Change in Imperial Chemical Indus- tries (Oxford: Basil Blackwell). T. 1998 ‘ “It’s Always More Difficult Than You Plan and Imagine”: Teachers’ Per- ceived Difficulties in Introducing the Communicative Approach in South Korea’. Waters. K. Hutchinson.1: 19-21. M. Managing Evaluation and Innovation in Language Teaching: Building Bridges (Harlow: Long- man): 25-50. The Teacher Trainer 3. ELT Journal 54. 1987 ‘Innovating for a Change’. A. Kennedy. 4th edn). 2001 The New Meaning of Educational Change (New York: RoutledgeFalmer.. Innovation and Best Practice (Harlow: Pearson Education): 1-8. . Mensch. in P.). 1999 ‘Introduction: “Fit” or “Split”?—Innovation and Best Practice’. Unpublished Consultancy Visit report. Li. E. Ken- nedy (ed. 1988 The ELT Curriculum: Design. A. Germaine (eds. in C. 1997 Managing Curricular Innovation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).C. 1995 Report on a Consultancy Visit to the Philippines English Language Teaching Project.2 (2005) DepEd undated The 2002 Basic Education Curriculum (Pasig City. Mimeo): 1-33. Rea-Dickins and K. and M. R. 1998 ‘Evaluating the Implementation of Educational Innovations: Lessons from the Past’. Unpublished Consultancy Visit report. 1996 Report on a Consultancy Visit to the Philippines English Language Teaching Project. D. Nunan. MA: Ballinger Publishing). White. TESOL Quarterly 32. 3rd edn). Pettigrew.L. D.3: 163-70. 2003 ‘The Impact of English as a Global Language on Educational Policies and Practices in the Asia-Pacific Region’. Fullan. September 1996. Philippines: Department of Education. Vilches 2000 ‘Integrating Teacher Learning: The School Based Follow-up Development Activity. 1995 Diffusion of Innovations (New York: The Free Press. C.). Markee. ELT Journal 41.4: 589-613. Waters. 1975 Stalemate in Technology (Cambridge.

i.’ (Rogers 1995: 15-16) 3. A ‘rational empirical’ strategy uses information about the potential benefits of the change to persuade people that the change is in their interests. it was not possible to institute an arrangement of this kind in the BEC/CBI situation. Waters and Vilches 2000). White 1988: 126-131). field-based support for course participants in their attempts to apply the course ideas. However. A ‘power coercive’ strategy relies on compulsion to force change to occur. would have helped to ensure that the potential impact of the course was extended further (cf.. The response rate was 97%. . past experiences and needs of potential adopters… Complexity is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as difficult to understand and use… Trialability is the degree to which an innovation may be experimented with on a limited basis… Observability is the degree to which the results of an innovation are visible to others.e. A ‘normative re- educative’ strategy attempts to mutually clarify and redefine the values and attitudes of those involved in the change process (Chin and Benne 1976. The Secondary Education Development Project (SEDP) Series for English (DECS 1989). WATERS AND VILCHES Innovation in Language Education 135 NOTES 1. ‘Relative advantage is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as better that the idea it supersedes… Compatibility is the degree to which an innovation is perceived as being consistent with the existing values. An organized system for post-course ‘follow-up’. additional. due to logistical constraints. Kennedy 1987. See Appendix. 4. 5. 2.

136 Regional Language Centre Journal 36. as you perceived it. November 2002 END-OF-WORKSHOP EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE We would be very grateful for your frank opinions about the value of this workshop. This information will be very useful in helping us manage further innovation in this area! 1. Weaknesses that should be remedied: 3.2 (2005) APPENDIX: WORKSHOP EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE Managing Innovation in Language Education Workshop. Recommendations for improvement: . Strengths that should be retained: 2.