Saturday, December 18, 2004

What's Worth Fighting For in 2005

If teachers or principals were to read only three books about the need to transform education the trilogy of books by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves would be a good bet.

The 'What’s Worth Fighting For’ trilogy has been designed to help teachers and principals fight for fundamental and positive changes. The challenge presented is to work with all involved, teachers, students, parents and the wider community to build a new system that succeeds for today’s students for tomorrow’s demands. The African proverb says, ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’, the trilogy goes further by asking, ‘What does it take to raise a village?’

These challenges are real for post industrial countries like New Zealand. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer. As well schools are struggling to educate a growing diversity of students in schools that were designed for a simpler age. And so far there seems little awareness of the need for real systemic change; all the so called reform we have seen to date amounts to no more than tinkering. What we need is to develop a new consciousness about the importance of the need to transform our schools so all students leave with desire to learn intact.

The first book, ‘What’s Worth Fighting For in the Principal ship?’ argues that principals are increasingly overloaded and that the current system fosters dependency. Principals, teachers and others are urged to take more control despite the system! It is call for courageous leadership at all levels.

The second book, ‘What’s Worth Fighting For in Your School’, examines school cultures and starts out with the observation that schools are not now learning organizations for either teachers or students. Too many school cultures are individualistic or ‘balkanized’. The book asks teachers to collaborate with each other to create powerful learning environments possible of continuous growth. A quick visit to a traditional high school will reinforce the view that little has changed over the years!

The last book, ‘What’s Worth Fighting For Out There’, argues that that the relationship between the school and those outside must be fundamentally reframed. The authors challenge us to go ‘wider’ and develop new relationships with parents and the wider community and also to go ‘deeper’ into the ‘heart of our practice’ by ‘rediscovering the passion and moral purpose that makes teaching and learning exciting an effective.’

All three books provide practical guidelines but most of all they provide teachers with a hopeful cause worth fighting for, one that places teachers and schools in a central role to transforming our society so as to develop a fairer and better place for all. The trilogy is all about developing a more democratic society – one that is inclusive of all members.

Well worth fighting for!
Well worth reading!

If you want a taste of Fullan read the article on our website. It is one of the most popular visited posting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The newsletter on your site a very useful summary - well worth the read.