Monday, April 11, 2005
School networks the future!
School mural -Porirua
Our latest Leading and Learning Newsletter no 23, available to read in full on our website, provides schools with an agenda for the future – one that places them in a central role in future educational change.
The ideas originate from a pamphlet written for the UK Department of Education and Science by well known educationalist Michael Fullan.
Fullan writes that ‘top down’ programmes, such as the UK literacy and Numeacy initiatives, while initially improving student achievement have now plateaued. This, he says, is because of a lack of deep ownership by schools and teachers. Compliance, it seems, only goes so far!
Fullan’s solution is to unleash the creativity of those who work in the schools but he warns this can not be left to the hope of some ideas from ‘a thousand flowers blooming’ spreading to others. He says there needs to be a means of turning independent judgments into collective decisions.
What we need, he says, is system that makes the best of strengths of both ‘top down and bottom up’ reform. The role of the centre is to create the conditions and provide resources for sharing ideas and invite the system as a whole to respond. This requires schools to work together with local liaison people to share ideas . Principals, he believes, need to worry as much about other schools their own.
This will require real local leadership to break through the isolation between schools that currently exists. It will also require principals with the courage to question unhelpful national initiatives.
The future, Fullan believes, will require problems to be solved at the local level and the answers will have to be worked out as schools go along – there are no answers to be gained from those at the top! Successful ideas need to gathered and shared with others through local networks.
All this means redefining the role of central government and local initiatives.
This must be vision that appeals to schools and creative teachers? So far we have seen only a few schools taking the lead in working together
I would love to hear of any initiatives or barriers to such ideas
To read more about Fullan's ideas read an earlier newsletter on our site.