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Not Your Usual School, 5:18:'12

Not Your Usual School, 5:18:'12

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Published by Jim Evers
A short manifesto on why school reforms usually fail and how to change that by transforming them through applying three key principles and seven best management practices for creating schools where everyone matters
A short manifesto on why school reforms usually fail and how to change that by transforming them through applying three key principles and seven best management practices for creating schools where everyone matters

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Published by: Jim Evers on Oct 17, 2012
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07/06/2013

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May 18, 2012
Author’s Note
: This is a draft version that I’m posting, hoping that readers will sendcritical suggestions before I edit and post a final version. I’ve been writing for a verylong time about transforming our schools, and now I have decided to move on to adifferent topic. I sense this to be my final piece about schools. Your critical remarksare most welcome. Please send them to my email address: jimevers@optonline.net
NOT YOUR USUAL SCHOOL:
A Manifesto about Three Principles and Seven BestManagement Practices for Transforming Our Schoolsinto Organizations in Which Everyone Matters
ByJim Evers
Note
: I’ve flipped the normal structure of a manuscript. The conclusion,which usually comes at the end of a piece, I’ve place first, and theintroduction which usually comes at the beginning, I’ve place at the end. I did this because many people often skip introductions, jump to theconclusion, and then go the major content, if interested. Here then is my manifesto:
 An effective organization is one in whicheveryone knows that they matter.
Conclusion
: Politicians and the media have been saying for a long timethat our schools are failing and that it is highly due to teachers notbeing well trained. This then is followed with new programs intended toreform our schools. Over the long run, and even for well over a century,most of these new programs are not that effective in reforming ourschools.The weakness of our schools lies more in the underlying principles andin the outdated bureaucratic, command and control managementpractices that create an environment of fear. Such an environmentdiminishes the value of all stakeholders. That’s not a smart way tocreate an environment for effective learning.In this manifesto you will learn of three key principles that underlie anenvironment that is highly effective for learning: an organization whereeveryone matters. These principles are 1. respect/re-spect, 2.responsibility/response-ability, 3. relevance. Then you will lear of sevenkey management practices that help to build these principles: 1.
 
Appreciative Inquiry, 2. Servant Leadership, 3. Collaborative Open-BookStewardship, 4. Systems Thinking, 5. Awareness and Review of Organizational Metaphors and
 
Mindsets, 6. Story Collecting, Telling,Sharing, 7. Facilitated Equalitarian Consensus Circles.
The Three Principles
PRINCIPLE ONE: RESPECT/RE-SPECTA. Respect 1.
showing admiration, deference, esteem, andrecognition, as in “I respect your accomplishments andefforts.” Honoring students, parents, teachers, administrators and allother stakeholders is an act of respect. Failing to honor allstakeholders is an act of disrespect.
Bashing teachers,parents, students, administrators, and all otherstakeholders is an act of disrespect.B.
Re-spect 
2.
(
re
=again +
spect 
=see) taking a new lookat something so as to more fully understand it, as in “Helpme re-spect what it is you are doing and why your are doingit.” Knowing how a student learns, what her/his strengths are,what his/her interests are, are ways of re-specting each.Learning about a student’s culture and family is another wayof building re-spect for that student -- to see the student ina new way. The same holds for teachers, parents,administrators, and the larger society. We need to see allstakeholders in new ways (re-spect), and especially we needto see them from their perspective so that we canunderstand (respect) them more fully.
It’s easier to
respect 
someone whom we’ve
re-spected 
.
Applied respect and re-spect in a school builds trust, and
 
trust is the essential characteristic of an effectiveorganizational culture.
Treat people respectfully and re-spectfully, and most of them will treat you and themselves in like manner.
PRINCIPLE TWO: RESPONSIBILITY/ RESPONSE-ABILITYA. Responsibility 1:
having an accountability of, beinganswerable for, being in charge of something, as in “Everystakeholder in our schools – parents, students, teachers,administrators, office and custodial staff, the community,State and Federal leaders, politicians, and many others –needs to face her/his responsibilities to our schools.” 
B.
Response-ablity 2
:
the ability to respond effectively tosomething that requires a response, as in “What’s yourablest response to the challenges of relevancy in ourcurriculum?” All stakeholders in our schools need to knowhow to respond effectively to school and education situationsthat they did not create but that are giving them challenges.
Treat people responsibly and response-ibly and most of them will treat you and themselves in like manner 
.
PRINCIPLE THREE: RELEVANCYRelevancy:
something that fits or is important to one’sneeds, as in “It is relevant to my health to maintain ahealthy diet and do regular exercising.” Very little meaningful learning can take place if a studentfeels that the curriculum, a specific subject, or a requiredactivity is not of importance to him or her. A trulyindividualized program of relevancy offers the highest

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