Enhancing change in today’s schools

As teachers, we are always adjusting to change happening around us. I am inclined to seek more effective ways of doing things, and thus find myself as an “early adopter” (Rogers, 2003) when it comes to new technology. Although I’m not necessarily embracing the art of creating the innovation, I am always looking for new pedagogies that improve learning in the classroom. Hence, my blog you are currently reading. I have a rule of trying an application a week. When this happens, diffusing the relevance of this technology to staff has always been my biggest problem. Thus, this article discusses the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) of innovation uptake within a school staff.

Hall and Hord’s (1987) Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM) was theorized by the idea of the development of understanding about innovations. It seeks to clarify the process by which innovators disseminate their passion and capability to use technological advancements (Loucks-Horsley, 2001).  The model divides a person’s progress or concerns with innovation through the stages of “awareness, informational, personal, management, consequence, collaboration, and refocusing” (Evans & Chauvin, 1993, p. 169) in consecutive order. Each stage is stressed to be carried out in its fullness, whereby they allow the adopter to consolidate their own understanding before moving into classroom relevance, or in other words, move from concerns with self to “concerns about task” (Cardoza & Tunks, 2014, p. 308). In fact, Davis (2018) has fine-tuned the model into four stages of concern which are “self, task, impact [and] change agent” (p. 143). I like the simplicity of this form of the CBAM, as it offers facilitators a simpler guide.

A potential example of the use of CBAM could be in diffusing the use of a new educational tool in the classroom like Flipgrid. The first levels of concern would begin with how it functions, which could be cleaned up in a demonstration or professional learning session (self). Moreover, teachers might ask questions like “how can I implement it in my classroom?” Or implore different pedagogical approaches to taking photos to document learning (task). When a teacher finally moves onto the “impact” that the tool might have they would become concerned about the best practice techniques and the side effects these would have on student learning and parent involvement. Lastly, teachers would engage in dialogue to see the maximum effect on student learning (change agent).

The beauty of the model is in the assistance for facilitators of professional learning, whereby it is their prerogative to try and determine where those they are coaching are on the spectrum of the CBAM. Evans and Chauvin (1993) state that there are three ways of ascertaining where a person is on the CBAM range, which is “(1) one-legged conferences, (2) open-ended statements, and (3) the Stages of Concern Questionnaire” (p. 170), where each source of information become sequentially more detailed and investigative. However, often the goal is not to become too intrusive about determining how people feel about an innovation, especially if they are at the early stages of the CBAM where articulating their understanding might be difficult.

One thing this model allows for is the unique understanding that each person comes from. People are all different and therefore have both learning differences and differences in experiences. As Davis (2018) puts it, the model “predicts each person’s likely response to the change through an appreciation of his or her likely concerns about the innovation so they can provide that person with appropriate support” (p. 142). The only question then is how the model deals with other influencing factors towards adopters with innovations, which is something that the Arena Framework addresses. Niki Davis (2018) opens up the discussion about further platforms of influence on classroom teacher development and environments and gives further detail to the complex arrangement that is innovation integration in schools. Hopefully, the consideration of all of these factors leads to an improved method of diffusing new technology into classrooms for the betterment of today’s schools, along with an understanding of people.


Cardoza, Y., & Tunks, J. (2014). The bring your own technology initiative: An examination of teachers’ adoption. Computers in the Schools, 31(4), 293-315. 10.1080/07380569.2014.967626

Davis, N. (2018). Digital technologies and change in education: The arena framework. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Evans, L. and Chauvin, S. (1993). Faculty Developers as Change Facilitators: The Concerns-Based Adoption Model. To Improve the Academy. Paper 278.

Hall, G. E., & Hord, S. M. (1987). Change in schools: Facilitating the process. Albany, N.Y: State University of New York Press.

Loucks-Horsley, S. (2001). The Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM): A model for change in individuals. In R. Bybee (ed), National Standards & the Science Curriculum. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co: Dubuque. Retrieved from http://www.nas.edu/rise/backg4a.htm.

Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.


3 thoughts on “Enhancing change in today’s schools

Add yours

  1. Hello Sarah

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about the diffusion of the relevance of technology to others is a concern. I can see you are enthusiastic about implementing e-learning tools into your classroom by how you mentioned that you try out a new application a week. That’s fantastic! I wonder – does that give you enough time to really dive deep into the possibilities of the tool? How often do you share your findings?

    Looking through CBAM lens the model suggests that teachers go through a process when new innovations are introduced? Could the number of tools you share be hindering their diffusion in the teachers you coach?



    1. Hey Stephanie, thanks for your comment. Gosh I did come across as a little over the top. Not my intention. Trying a new tool a week is often superficial (and doesn’t always happen but generally) and really a goal I set for myself. I feel it keeps me fresh and up to date but I don’t always bring them into my classroom. Sometimes I go back to old tools that I know well but other times if the tool really offers me something different then I’ll use it in my classroom. I have only just stepped into an official role that sides as coaching teachers, so I can’t comment on what you’re saying qualitatively. I have only officially coached the whole staff through the use of one tool (Quizlet) and I only had a short session to do it so a lot of them haven’t adopted the technology in their classrooms. The constraints are always time. Unfortunately, tool-practice is not prioritised like I think it should be. However, I do think that small is good. Sticking with staple applications like Quizlet, Padlet, Google suite, Edpuzzle and Kahoot will allow for the stages of the CBAM to be fully outworked. I hope that clarifies me a bit!


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