But stagnating is easy…..isn’t it?
And change is not – especially when people often are weary of change – change that they think happens simply for the sake of change.
And does interest matter? Does engagement matter? Does the identity of each child in front of you matter? Do their questions matter?
And if we say that these things do matter……
How do we strike that balance – the balance between getting through the ‘stuff’ we need them to learn and allowing their interests, passions and identify to play a part in learning? How do we strike the balance between the content that we think they need to understand before we let them design, create, innovate and problem-solve. When is it that greater importance will be placed on the latter before the former?
Does this not mean that we start by not knowing where we might go and what we might learn? Does this not mean co-designing the learning?
I feel so much tension between these two facets right now in education. But maybe to feel that tension means that change is in the air. Maybe, without that tension, we stagnate and put up with being just good enough. And being just good enough means, to me, doing things the way they have always been done.
And change is hard. It’s oh so hard.
School improvement – how can we continue to meander along a path towards only the improvements that are measurable and visible and those that make us accountable? Shouldn’t school improvement be bigger than this? Shouldn’t we be striving to discover the new things that we haven’t known about before that possibly are going to be the strategies of the future that become the dependable and proven strategies? Are we being driven by the wrong drivers in school improvement?
I like to read Fullan when I’m feeling a bit unsure of that stance I am taking or when I am thinking that my intuitive feelings need some kind of theoretical backing. This article is great as Michael talks about whole systems (and he uses Australian and the US as examples) working towards whole system reform and then selecting strategies that have the least likely chance of achieving that reform. Australia – being driven by the lofty ideals of the Melbourne Declaration and then putting in place strategies that at best, tighten some looseness whilst doing nothing to change the essential culture of schools.
And that’s what we need to do…..change the culture…..but to change the culture we have to change mindsets and mindsets are so rooted in experience…..and so we need to change people’s experiences but that requires a growth mindset. And what if that isn’t present? What if people think what they are doing is already good enough? What if they are so busy doing what needs to be done that there’s no question that it isn’t the most worthy path? What if they think that being reflective and making changes based on those reflections is beneath them?
There’s a lot of ‘buts’ in that sentence. It’s a huge risk, isn’t it – to change what we have always done. But there’s oh so much to gain.
Break the cycle……hmmmm……