The rhetoric of, and for, change in education is as strident and optimistic as ever; the reality of change remains torpid, seemingly bound and gagged with duct tape. Cj asks will we ever see lists like the Harvard Business Reviews “Breakthrough ideas for 2007” knocked out in education. I suspect that no amount of change rhetoric will result in lists of breakthrough ideas in education – breakthrough ideas will not surface whilst we continue to embrace an institutional mindset of educational leaders and educational followers.
Learning@School 07 is again promising those “how to do” sessions on transformational change for leaders – They must be targeting all of us who failed to meet the success criteria for cluster catalysed school metamorphosis last year. Followers get sessions on “dealing with barriers and challenges” They will probably be planning how to defend themselves against leaders hell bent on transformative change.
A. Leadership Forum: A Leadership Perspective on ICT PD (Thursday 1.30pm - 4.30pm )
This participatory leadership forum provides an opportunity for you to grapple with issues of transformational change in schools. There will be a brief presentation to introduce each theme. We invite you to listen, discuss and consider colleagues’ experiences to broaden perspectives.
Developing a Culture for Change
… What factors do leaders need to consider for developing a successful school culture?
… How do effective leaders then prepare and nurture an environment for change? What are the success indicators for this?
… What challenges could leaders face and what strategies (networks, resources) might lead to an effective outcome?
Grappling with “transformational change” is not something I do a lot of in my day job. I am a card carrying tadpole in the murky ponds of educational change. In my defense I have always felt that grappling without lust is unethical.
It is not that I am without grappling experience. I had to do some serious higher order grappling last year when I found myself fighting off an unstable schizophrenic who was determined to wreak transformational change on me whilst armed with a hammer. Now I will admit the ride in the ambulance was an authentic learning experience but the transformational change several hammer blows made to my head was an experience I could easily forgo.
Is why I laughed when I read the quote from Robertson in cj’s post "The only thing you can do quickly in education is damage" (Robertson 1998)
I am wondering if Robert Genn’s advice on saving a painting will have resonance with those who aspire to manipulate others to change in ways that can be described as transformative.
Genn’s strategies to turn a barn into a duck.
Unify by glazing a mother colour
Obfuscate incompetence with a scumble
Strengthen elements by cutting down detail
Eliminate one colour--especially a primary
Look to subtract material more than to add
Improve compositions by using the classic rules
Shoot up the borinary by busting the rules
Return to reference for better understanding
Eliminate reference and get into your mind
Rededicate yourself to confidence and audacity
Works for me. But then so did Jeremy’s post on a potentially transformative field trip Project Happiness. Makes me want to collect a bunch of kids from across the Asia Pacific and go on a similarly designed but Key Competency inspired field trip - Project Participating and Contributing.