At some stage in the last week I was pointed to this report/paper from Michael Fullan titled “Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reform”. The argument is that the large-scale reforms of K-12 education being undertaken in both the USA and Australia are destined to fail because they have adopted exactly the wrong drivers to encourage system-wide reform that actually improves learning outcomes for all students.
Fullan positions the following as the correct drivers/questions about attempts at whole system reform. The question is, does the attempt at reform
- foster intrinsic motivation of teachers and students;
- engage educators and students in continuous improvement of instruction and learning;
- inspire collective or team work; and
- affect all teachers and students – 100 percent?
While written for the K-12 sector, I found myself asking these questions about the attempts at reforming learning and teaching I’ve seen within tertiary education, both at the institutional and sector level.
I wasn’t saying “yes” a lot.
In fact, as with Fullan’s critique of the US and Oz K12 reforms, I found myself identifying a lot of attempted strategies that actively mitigated against that list of four.
Now I need to read Fullan’s work (this gives an interesting, alternate perspective on Fullan) a bit more and see what I can critique, but the general themes seem to resonate with me.