• Student-centered, active learning classrooms where students have a voice and a choice over the pace and place of their learning and are part of the personalized plan leading to proficiency and mastery of their subject.


Three vital behaviors that need to change:


  • Plan and implement student-centered activities instead of teacher-centered plans
  • Decrease the lecturing time and increase the active learning time: teacher lectures are not to take up more than ⅓ of class time
  • Weekly collaboration with other teachers to plan / train together encourage and hold each other accountable


Measurements / Accountability:


  • Weekly sharing meetings (Share the “good, bad and the ugly” to open up honest communication) to assess: How many activities that week were Student-centered vs Teacher-centered?  Goal is:  ⅔ SC and ⅓ TC.  How much time (percentage of class time) was spent with students engaged in Active learning? (Have a student time you or time yourself)  Goal is: 30 minutes per class.  Use a self-monitoring daily report to track.
  • Weekly meetings for hands-on prep / lesson plan creation and idea sharing
  • Weekly tech training / support
  • Personalized tracking of each student and their progress using technology
  • ACTFL proficiency measures to chart how competent students are becoming with this model




  • Formal leaders: School Principal.  Department Head.
  • 4 Opinion leaders from the department (I don’t want to name them here but I have identified them)

Sources of Influences

Motivation Ability
Personal Do they enjoy it?  Do they find meaning in it? Does it fit into their sense of who they are or who they want to be?

  • Allow the teachers to choose which classes to pilot
  • Create direct experience (Connect with those students who are failing in the current system)
  • Make it a game / competition – make it fun and engaging
  • Create a mission and purpose around the need for active learning classrooms
  • Get the teachers buy-in by allowing for open discussion and targeting the heart
Can they do it? Do the teachers have the knowledge, skills, and strength to be able to implement the VB? Can they handle the toughest challenges they will face?

  • Technology training
  • Break the changes into smaller actions and address one at a time
  • Practice with realistic conditions until they feel comfortable and competent
  • Provide rapid and positive feedback
  • Practice how to recover from setbacks or worse case scenarios
  • How to move from go to know – avoid the panic and use your knowledge and resources
  • Practice open communication and speaking up with our peers
Social Are other people encouraging the right behavior or discouraging the wrong behavior? Are respected leaders modeling the right behaviors? Do people have good relationships with those who are trying to influence them?

  • BE the model for the Vital Behavior change
  • Build trust with them by investing time, money and energy
  • 200% Accountability (enact and hold others accountable)
  • Weekly collaboration and sharing of ideas and materials (build a strong network)
  • Open meetings with students and parents
Do others provide the help, information, and resources required—particularly at critical times?

  • Work together
  • Share the load
  • Come together regularly
  • PD centered on active learning and blended learning strategies
Structural Are there rewards—pay, promotions, performance reviews, or perks? Are there costs? Do rewards encourage the right behaviors and costs discourage the wrong ones?

  • Reward vital behaviors – not just results. Flex time? More prep time?
  • Less is more (small but meaningful)
  • Weekly recognition for most active classroom of the week
  • Non-threatening environment (it’s ok to fail)
  • Regular reporting to the administration and the school board on progress
Does the environment (tools, classroom, information, reports, proximity to others, policies, schedules, etc.) enable the VB behavior? Are there enough cues and reminders to help teachers stay on course?

  • Set up the classroom for student-centered success
  • Make it unavoidable – build it into every aspect- reminders everywhere
  • Build in the meetings in the PD calendar
  • Make it easy to do active learning and hard to lecture (use checklists)
  • Set-up a computer lab rotation with calendar reminders
  • Provide the technology needed to personalize and track student learning


Grenny, J., Maxfield, D., & Shimberg, A. (2013). How to 10X your influence [PDF]. Provo: VitalSmarts.

Grenny, J., Patterson, K., Maxfield, D., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2013). Influencer: The new science of leading change: 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.