Saturday, January 17, 2009

Systemic Change in Education

Systemic change is quite a beast to ride. Implementing coherent vision is a moral endeavor that requires confronting both individual and group-level dynamics. Aligning multiple levels simultaneously is a challenging. The spandrelled nature of value systems makes this doubly hard and highly complex.

District level change often lacks the deep rooted intentionality inherit with strong instructional designs. Duffy’s and Reigeluth’s school transformation protocol (2008) lets one see how instructional design methodology applies to the instructional problem of retooling education for modern contexts.

School System Transformation Article Summary

Below is a brief synthesis of their article. They have created an instructional design model for systemic educational change where the target of “instruction” is the school district.
1. There is significant lack of understanding of the meaning of systemic change. There is also robust push back from the school based improvement paradigm.
2. Systemic transformational change 1)alters underlying assumptions, 2) is deep and pervasive, 3) has intentionality, 4) occurs over time, 5) creates a system that seeks an idealized future, and 6) is substantially different from the current system.
3. The preferred level for systemic transformational educational change is the school district. It functions on the level that encompasses all the day-to-day interactions tied to student learning. This unit allows a focus on unique contexts and characteristics needed to create transformational change in lieu of attempting to replicate non-transferable “best practices”.
4. Three paradigm shifts (paths) are needed for systemic educational change: transformation of core work and supporting processes, transformation of internal social infrastructure, and transformation of the system’s relationship with its external environment.
5. Transformational systemic change should start with a naturally networked cluster. While paradigm shifts must be concurrent, transforming core work and supporting processes should be the central driver.
6. Strong leaders with knowledge and skills in complex change processes are needed.
7. A continuous process of formative evaluation and expanding community engagement underlay’s the systemic transformation change model. (18 continuous processes are mentioned)

In lieu of a standard article critique, let me jump right into a couple points I would love to see extended
1) how to tackle circular like requirements for concurrent change
2) how to treat continual processes like the SST protocol
3) how phenomenological emergence should highlight design considerations.

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