On choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform

If you are in any way involved in education, schools, and / or professional development I would highly recommend the following paper as a ‘must read’. (The paper was shared via email by Vince Ham.)

Fullan M. (2011). Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform (Centre for Strategic Education Seminar Series Paper No. 204). Melbourne, VIC: Centre for Strategic Education.

“In the rush to move forward, leaders, especially from countries that have not been progressing, tend to choose the wrong drivers. Such ineffective drivers fundamentally miss the target. There are four main ‘wrong driver’ culprits that I discuss with their matched pairs that refer to the more effective alternative. In all cases choosing a combination of the drivers makes matters significantly worse (or better).” (p. 5)

Fullan identifies the culprits as:

  1. accountability: using test results, and teacher appraisal, to reward or punish teachers and schools vs capacity building;
  2. individual teacher and leadership quality: promoting individuals vs group solutions;
  3. technology: investing in and assuming that the wonders of the digital world will carry the day vs instruction;
  4. fragmented strategies vs integrated or systemic strategies.

“Dominance is another word for saying what system leaders state and acknowledge as the anointed, explicitly articulated lead drivers. The encouraging news is that the judicious use of the four right drivers ends up accomplishing better the goals that those espousing the wrong drivers are seeking. And it does so in a fundamentally more powerful and sustainable manner. The right drivers – capacity building, group work, instruction, and systemic solutions – are effective because they work directly on changing the culture of school systems (values, norms, skills, practices, relationships); by contrast, the other formal attributes of the system without reaching the internal substance of reform – and that is why they fail. (p.5)”

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About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ (http://www.ethosconsultancynz.com/). I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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