School Management

Making schools work for everyone

MODERN SCHOOL August 4, 2011 Authored by: AMQ

School Management Making schools work for everyone  We have had well over a century of school reforms that have failed. Psychologists have long asserted that positive validation builds effective people while. but these reformations don’t last for long or sustain. and they are imposed on a system that operates under a management structure that by its very nature can’t really build a sustainably effective learning community.  Many of the reforms have usually failed even after intense teacher training because those teachers failed to integrate what they have learned in training to the curriculum  administrators imposed what they felt was needed to be integrated into the program without involving the teachers in the change process: a change model that breeds resistance by making teachers into presenters of others' agenda rather than professional instructors or educators  Common practice of reform in many schools: imposition on but without collaboration of the professional staff. negative validation generally does the opposite. he added. despite how well their students are doing. Such Reforms fail because they are imposed reforms rather than systemic reforms. School Management | 8/4/2011 1 . it will usually push back. Innovative teachers. conversely. or of any other stakeholders.  Effective changes must be made systemically within the system and not imposed on it.(result? Failure!)  Administrators treated teachers in much the same way that many teachers treat their students: command and control – negative validation. and systemic changes require knowledge and an understanding of the system being changed (since we are beginners we must try to avoid any postpone in implementation of systems)  Schools often get reformations.  Innovative teachers are the least validated ones.  Systems thinkers clearly demonstrates that when a system is pushed (imposed upon). are commanded to fall back in line with the ordinary teachers. they are usually held in suspect.

says that Bordewich found some key innovations in Finland’s education system: over twenty years ago the system shifted to a “studentcentered” approach giving increased attention to each student’s needs. including NCLB and most of the reforms of the last century. . but when they were asked if this was what they were doing in their schools. The media are giving our children an education that strongly runs counter to the schooling that schools give. Standardized tests are shunned so as to avoid teaching to the tests..  Very little is said in most reform efforts about the organizational structure and management styles used in our schools.  Finland has the smallest gap between best and worst students. some of that time is sleep time.."  Teachers are also the best educated but poorest trained workforce in the country. but most of that is awake time and much of that is spent with media.au/News/Q_A/How%20will%20this%20high%20 school%2)  What happens during the 91% time? Certainly. students are taught to evaluate themselves and to work independently. teachers knew what excellent teaching looked like. and they have the autonomy to select their own materials. they (administrators) wouldn't let us do that. and you will see that they are directed at the curriculum and the teachers. and the second smallest differential in results between schools. posted on the Montessori High School’s web site.” He further adds that research shows that even with improved teacher training schools don’t necessarily improve and that’s because “. and slow learners are given intense support.”). it is incredibly difficult to get into teaching in Finland (more difficult than even medicine or law).montessorihighschool. Further. stopped streaming students. the smallest gender gap in results between boy and girls. decentralized administration (“Too much authority creates resentment.  Take a look at any recent school reform. The report. "No. The media of our youth are highly captivating 2 School Management | 8/4/2011  “Teacher-bashing has become the favorite sport of politicians and superintendents who don’t know what to do about the schools and are looking for someone to blame. and gave more power to teachers.”  Invariably. teachers are highly trained and highly respected.org.the fundamental problem is not the teachers.(www. the frequent answer was.

today's problems come from yesterday's non-systemic solutions The heroic manager. parents need to be both informed and actively involved.) School reforms usually fail because they are usually "schooling" reforms. there was no administration.     School Management | 8/4/2011    and highly interactive: characteristics that are sorely missing in most school programs. and someone asked a dropout why he didn’t want to return to school. In our school. More and more the 91% factor is encroaching deeper and deeper into our schools. The drop out answered that if he came back to school it would interrupt his education. often with kids and parents in on the process. (Access to outside world. This causes two very serious consequences: the manager makes bad decisions and the subordinates. That speaks volumes! Many of the new games and applications involve conversing and interacting with other users. and as suppliers they need to know that they have a responsibility to send children to school ready to learn. though we had some division of tasks. Each teacher was considered a co-director of the school and all decisions were made by consensus. giving it continuity and a sense of long-term existence. today: lots of kids were dropping out of school in those years. feeling overly worried that his subordinates cannot carry their full responsibilities. we can present it before these participants so that it is accepted. seeing 3 .( Though we want our principles and decisions imposed. the 91% factor) He says that as customers. These reforms are imposed and monitored by a hierarchical management system that is equally out of date and equally not conducive to organizational or learning effectiveness. Knowing and keeping alive an organization’s history is vital to an organization’s health. brought into an organizational structure that is ou of date and not conducive to organizational or learning effectiveness. (“You can’t get quality products out the door if you don’t have quality supplies coming in the door. then everyone has to be treated as such and empowered to be a full partner of the organization. And that reminds me of a story often told in the 1960s that still rings true. begins to micromanage and takes on more responsibilities than he or she can handle.”) If everyone matters. reforms of the curriculum and/or of the teaching process.

employees much prefer stepping back and watching their bosses bungle. They sink money into programs that promise results and when the programs don’t live up to the hype. Effective administrators model good teaching to their teachers. It's a sinister synergy that prevails in command and control workplaces. They lack insight into what is needed for teacher success. Legacies are not left by installing programs. confused. for their teachers. School Management | 8/4/2011    Successful administrators know that the greatest asset of a school is its teachers and that teachers are the single most important factor in improving student 4 . Unsuccessful administrators buy programs." I see a lot of the same in many schools. The two conditions and their resulting behaviors feed off each other. the blame is put on the program for not producing results. In a climate of mistrust. They do not have the big picture plan to produce results for teachers and achievement for kids. Close to 55% of employees surveyed feel "exhausted.   Effective administrators teach. Systems thinking is the key discipline that integrates the other disciplines. change. To guide us in creating a learning organization. Rivalries are to be avoided.    that responsibility is being taken away from them. preferring to sit on the sidelines and watch the manager fumble. They teach teachers the skills they need to be successful in the classroom. and leverage. It further supports my thinking that in schools that fail to validate the teachers. interdependencies. They have a plan for the teacher’s success and know how to convey this plan to establish a culture of effective teachers. and unsupported. most teachers would resist any attempt by such leaders to involve them in a modicum of collaboration. They call the situation as “burn out”. are now unwilling to take on the responsibility. Senge offers five disciplines that we need to integrate into the organization: • Personal mastery: "cultivating of individual aspiration and awareness" • Mental models: "becoming more aware of the sources of our thinking" • Shared vision: "fostering commitment to common purpose" • Team learning: "transforming our skills of collective learning" • Systems thinking: "developing awareness of complexity.

and parents love a school that is safe. rather than "all-of-us" ones.org/wiki/Appreciative_inquiry An Appreciative Inquiry Overview Gail Johnson Spring 2003 ai-overview 1 School Management | 8/4/2011 5 . The teachers. Otherwise. predictable.    Negative workplace cultures are not conducive to effective learning. students. http://en. It doesn't have to be this way.wikipedia. administration. the curriculum can be taught. The teacher is the difference in an effective classroom. time is wasted and energy expended putting out fires and dealing with behavior problems. and nurturing.learning and achievement. consistent.  With a classroom management plan in place. Research shows that providing such an environment for students will increase achievement. They are "we/they" cultures.

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