Saturday, November 20, 2004

Figures to think about from Michael Fullan

Michael Fullan's article on our website ( Newsletter no 3 Dec 02) is one of the most popular on our site.

His basic premise is that schools stand at the edge of great democratic possibilities but only if educators have the moral courage to play an inspirational lead role rather than concerning themselves with compliance management.

Unfortunately the latter is too often the case - real leadership is as scarce in education as it is in any other area.

Here are some of Fullan's statements:

Most change is in spite of the system and, at best, real cultural change is a three to five year process. Governments, he says, always get it wrong!

In any change situation 25% is knowing what to do and 75% is the more difficult area of developing processes to combat the 'status quo'. Change is an uncertain balance between stability and excitement.

Effective teachers account for 30% of the variance of student process ( it is amazing how this figure changes from one expert to another, rising up to 60%).Whatever, it is all about having high expectations and a passion for helping students improve.

Real pupil improvement comes from the 'power of three' - having three good teachers in a row.

The 'power of three' also applies for the need for students, parents and teachers to work together. If one is missing success is less than positive.

Schools engage students and parents in a 'six year conversation' ( the time students are in any school will depend on the particular system) with different systems).

The decentralized school experiment in Chicago resulted in the 'rule of three thirds', one third struggled to comply, one third were left behind, and one third engaged in self initiated re -construction.

There are 'two major forces of change in play', both with 'evil twins'.One is the 'top down' curriculum accountability model and the other is the 'bottom up', 'school as a community model'. The first too easily turns into 'name and shame' and the latter into unrealistic 'navel gazing'. Both, Fullan believes, are important but they must team up, but whatever, individual schools must feel in control, feel part of a bigger society transformational model and feel it is 'worth fighting for'.

Worth thinking about?

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