History of Change in Education and Strategies for Change

I began reading a book called “The New Meaning of Educational Change” by Michael Fullan. I plan to summarize what I read so that I retain the information better. Additionally, I would like to state that what I write may not be what the author was trying to say. It is the interpretation of what I read that I am documenting. 

Chapter 1: A Brief History of Educational Change

The pre-1950s era was considered the “progressive period” because of the educators and education intellectuals, such as John Dewey who wanted to change pedagogy using practical and intellectual principles. In the late 1950s and throughout the 1960s the U.S. government spent large amounts of money to make these reforms occur. However, schools and districts appeared to reform, when in fact most were not actually taking action. Since the 1980s education reform has been a focus, but little has actually been done to actually bring reform to action. Reform in education needs to happen because of the current globalization that is occurring. Students need to be able to learn and work in a complex global world, as well as in local settings. 

The chapter describes the too-tight and too-loose problems. Schools who use too-tight method for reform find immediate change, but it is relatively short and to a certain point. Schools using too-loose method of reform appear to take action for reform, but it is actually just an appearance. There needs to be a good balance of these problems sot that change can occur effectively. 

The main reason change is so difficult is because of the weak infrastructure. Teachers, schools, districts, and the state government are not in the right page with one another, and each part of the infrastructure is not working and helping each other. 

Chapter 3: Insights into the Change Process

Motivation and reflective action are huge factors in bringing educational change (“bias for action”). What is strange about change it is generally difficult for people to change without true motivation. The author provides the example of people who undertake bypass surgery for coronary disease that initially change their living conditions, but within two years go back to their normal ways. A study was also done to see whether or not people would rather change or die. Findings showed that most people rather die than change. 

The author lists ten strategies that bring successful change.

  • Educators and administrators need to make the goal of closing the gap their “overarching goal.” This is an ongoing process that involves monitoring and appropriate action. 
  • Schools and teachers need to have students be sufficient in literacy, numeracy, and well-being by the age of 12 years old.
  • Make sure to use respect and people’s dignity to create motivation for change.
  • The most qualified and passionate people should be used to solve problems involving change.
  • Strategies for change involve either social or action foundations. Social-based involves strategies that try to develop positive and productive relationships. Action-based strategies promotes the idea of actually doing rather than just conducting painstaking and detailed planning. 
  • There needs to be an assumption that people need to be taught how to take action for reform or be taught that reform can happen. 
  • There needs to be correct direction led by capable leadership to make sure that everything is on track. 
  • There needs to be interconnected internal and external accountability.
  • The reform environment needs to consist of positive pressure from teachers, schools, districts, and state governments. 
  • The previous nine strategies should be done to also have the public have a positive view of the change that is being made.

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