Kurt Lewin's Change Theory in the Field and in the Classroom: Notes Toward a Model of Managed Learning by


III. Kurt Lewin in The Classroom: Teaching the Management of Planned Change



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III. Kurt Lewin in The Classroom: Teaching the Management of Planned Change


The idea for a "planned change workshop" goes back to the mid 1960's when Richard Beckhard and I designed a program on "planned change" for the National Training Labs. The essence of our program was that participants should be involved in real projects which could be of one or two years duration, and that the time spent together should be devoted initially to learning diagnostic intervention tools and models and, thereafter, to reporting progress to each other. That program started with a one week workshop and was followed by quarterly meetings of three days duration. Participants were organized into teams geographically and were expected to meet regularly with each other to share problems and progress.

What Beckhard and I learned from this program is 1) to learn about managing change one must be involved in a real project, and 2) one of the most powerful sources of motivation to work through all the frustrations involved in managing change is to have to report regularly on progress to "team mates" and to the faculty. All of the participants noted during and after the program how important it had been to give quarterly progress reports, to have a chance at those times to rediagnose, to recalibrate their own situation and to share war stories and frustrations with others who were in the same boat.

Criteria for choosing the initial project were 1 ) something that the workshop participant was personally involved in and cared about; 2) something that would make a real contribution to the organization from which the participant came; and 3) something that was realistic in terms of being doable in the time allocated to the workshop, i.e. one or two years. We considered the workshop a success and felt we had learned what the essential components of such a learning experience had to be. But it was not until two decades later that I found a way to implement my own learning in the more traditional classroom environment.




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