Finally, the focus group process contributed to an increased sense of trust and respect for educators in the community. Everyone appreciated the invitation to become more involved—and the opportunity to have a voice. All these findings formed a foundation for answering the second essential question of systemic change. Communities need to agree on an inspiring vision to drive the change process. Through holding Town Meetings for Learning and then creating working task forces around specific skill and subject areas, communities can begin the hard work of coming to agreement on goals for change.
Developing a vision means finding new answers to age old questions: What does it mean to be an educated person today?
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What should students know and be able to do in order to graduate from high school? How do we best prepare our students for the future? Lofty-sounding mission statements routinely adorn schools' conference rooms and superintendents' offices. But if a mission statement is to be a true road map for change, it must be both broadly understood and translated into explicit criteria for assessing results. It is quite a different process for an entire community to define skills in terms of specific outcomes—such as the ability of students to analyze opposing editorials on an important issue and then write one of their own, for example.
Creating a vision of a better school must include definitions of real outcomes and discussion of how they can best be assessed. Core values are an essential aspect of a vision for a better school. Improving the quality of life and relationships in individual schools may be as important as redefining the goals in the change process.
Students won't learn and teachers won't collaborate if they don't feel respected. In other words, change involves the heart as well as the head. While a vision statement clarifies the desired outcomes of change, core values define how we treat one another—and what kind of people we aspire to be—in the process.
Together, they become the collective mission of the school community and the basis for designing and evaluating the change process. In one school where a successful systemic change effort had been in place for several years, I facilitated a series of focus groups with faculty, students, and then parents. We began with questions like: What behaviors are of greatest concern to you here at school? What behaviors would you like to see more of? Within three months, the school community agreed on the following values as their guiding principles: honesty, respect for self and others, responsibility, and citizenship.
With a common framework for talking about school climate and values, students, teachers, and administrators alike began to view their own and one another's behaviors according to very different standards. For the first time, students voiced a concern long felt and silently suffered by individual teachers—that students showed little respect for one another or for adults. They also asked teachers to gossip less about students and to plan more community-building activities. A greater sense of respect and community soon evolved, which, in turn, prompted students and teachers to take greater intellectual risks.
The next step in the process of systemic change is to develop clear priorities and a timeline for change. School board members and community leaders must make clear their long-term commitment to a carefully thought-out strategy. Experience in corporations suggests that systemic change takes five or more years. Like many CEOs, superintendents are under tremendous pressure to produce short-term results. Lacking a long-term contract and subject to the shifting sands of local politics, many well-meaning superintendents committed to systemic change feel they must undertake everything all at once in every school—an outcome-based diploma, interdisciplinary teams, a theme curriculum, heterogeneous grouping, advisory groups.
As a result, even the best, most supportive teachers feel frustrated in their efforts, while the skeptics become even more resistant. All-at-once change efforts too often leave parents and students confused and demoralized, as well.
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Deep-seated resistance to change can, thus, quickly coalesce. Too little time and consideration are given to the new skills everyone—teachers, students, and parents—needs to become effective participants in the process. Different communities will evolve different priorities for change, depending on their most urgent needs. For many, moving toward an outcome-based curriculum, where students exhibit mastery through portfolios and exhibitions, centers everyone's attention on a concrete change.
The results are often dramatic in terms of improved student motivation and performance. With proper training and support for teachers, teacher-student advisor groups and shared governance structures can quickly contribute to enhanced student-teacher relationships and a greater sense of community. On the other hand, the development of interdisciplinary curriculum units—a much more time- and labor-intensive process—will likely require substantial summer work and fundamental changes in a school's schedule—and so might better be deferred.
Whatever the initial priorities for systemic change, there should be no more than three to five objectives, and they should be broadly understood and supported through focused staff development. Further, priorities must be periodically assessed and modified, as necessary, by a representative school improvement committee. Every year, entire school communities—as well as individuals and teams within each school—should evaluate progress toward priorities set the previous year and agree upon the focus of the next year's efforts.
Once this autonomous unit had perfected the new methods, staff members then taught them to others throughout the company. This same process, is the essence of the strategy Debbie Meier is using to replicate her successful Central Park East model in six other New York high schools. Let each district agree on a few clear priorities for these schools or programs within schools , staff them with teachers interested in trying new ideas, open them to representative cross sections of families who choose to be in the program, agree on ways in which their work can be periodically assessed—and get out of the way!
One of the most important ways in which state governments and the U. Superintendents and school boards often implement systemic change by imposing administrative, organizational, or structural reforms. Creating schools of choice, combining schools, eliminating department heads, restructuring the roles of central office staff, or implementing site-based management are some of the more common examples. Such efforts are, at best, premature. More often, teachers view them as capricious or illogical when the changes are not explicitly linked to new goals and strategies.
And they don't work. But the internal conditions—developing a coherent mission statement and the individual character that appeals to students and teachers—matter equally. These studies confirm my own experience: only after goals, priorities, and sequential steps for change have been defined, can the conversation about new structures make sense.
The need to decentralize management, elect committees for shared decision making, develop new methods of assessment, and create new ways for parents to get involved—all become more apparent and logical when they are explicitly designed to serve the change process. Agree on goals and values and define the tasks first. Then ask people how they want to work together, and what they need to get the job done. Community dialogue and agreement on the problem, a clear vision, core values, a few carefully chosen priorities rooted in a sequence of steps for change, and new or revamped decision-making structures—all will help define more clearly the need for the new skills and resources required to sustain the change process at every level.
With a clearer sense of system and school priorities, administrators and teams of teachers can more readily define what kinds of training and technical assistance they need. Parents may form their own support groups to better assist their children in school. And business leaders will find that they have new roles to play—helping the community to support change and serving on school improvement committees where people want to learn the skills of teamwork, agenda-setting, delegating, and so on. With greater involvement and clarity about the goals and methods of change, it also becomes easier to make the case to communities and businesses that new resources are needed to sustain systemic change.
Corporations that routinely use long-term consultants to facilitate change have found that the expense is more than offset by improvements in both the speed and effectiveness of their change process. Even with help, change comes slowly. In my experience, the scarcest resource in the change process—even more than money—is time.
Time for teachers to discuss students' needs, observe one another's classes, assess their work, design new curriculums, visit other schools, and attend workshops.
Time for teachers and students to get to know one another. Time for parents and community members to become involved in children's learning. Time for leaders at all levels to reflect and plan collaboratively. Time—perhaps five years—to rethink the purposes of education, reinvent teaching and learning, and create new school cultures. Can educators make the case in their communities for taking the time needed to do it right? Perhaps—but only by creating inclusive, thoughtful, compelling conversations about purposes and other critical questions.
And then by acting with urgency, discipline, and courage. Hill, G. Foster, and T. He can be reached at Lakeview Ave. Tweets by ELmagazine.
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Buy this issue. As such, Kotter's Eight stage model incorporates the notions of creating urgency, forming a powerful coalition; creating a vision for change; communicating the vision; removing obstacles; creating short-term wins; building on the change; and anchoring the changes in the organisation's culture By, To this end, Reigeluth and Garfinkel cited in Menchaca et al.
Jenlink, Reigeluth, Carr and Nelson as cited in Menchaca et al.
Menchaca et al. Farias and Johnson argue that "change without a people focus does not have a great chance of success". As change involves people, there is bound to be resistance to it. Kritsonis concludes that, "There is no right or wrong theory to change management. It is not an exact science. The theories of change allow for a holistic approach to the change management process by providing change management techniques such as feedback and counseling. This could be linked with the performance management philosophy which embraces motivation theories espoused by theorists such as Abraham Maslow with his hierarchy of needs; Frederick Herzberg's two-factor hygiene and motivation theory and Victor Vroom's expectancy theory.
Reflecting the complexity of the management function, current trends include systems thinking, emotional literacy, organizational citizenship and employee involvement. Integrated Quality Management System. Furthermore, Chisholm notes the poor results achieved in the senior certificate examination as well as the dropout rate of children, especially in black schools, in South Africa reveal that teachers are not performing at an optimum level. Mestry et al. For "professional development to be effective, motivation should be intrinsic rather than extrinsic".
The implementation of the IQMS implies that professional development should be placed high on a school's agenda. The professional development of teachers could be seriously jeopardised because IQMS has not yet been successfully implemented in some provinces, while in others, implementation is very slow.
Some of the reasons cited by Mboyane are that the National Department of Education's advocacy programme on IQMS is not intensively driven: the approach is top-down, the training is often once-off and in some provinces training is outsourced to institutions of higher learning and private consultants who themselves have inadequate knowledge and practical experience to undertake such training, such that facilitators lack insight into IQMS.
Mboyane highlights additional problems such as the poor leadership provided by principals and school management teams, insufficient resources in previously disadvantaged schools, the department and principals "forcing" the implementation of IQMS on teachers, the low morale of teachers due to their poor working conditions and remuneration packages, and the teachers' inability to deal with massive policy changes, such as not getting to grips with Outcomes-Based Education OBE , the Revised National Curriculum Statements RNCS and the National Curriculum Statement NCS ; including resistance by different unions to the "unilateral decisions" taken by the Department on IQMS as factors militating against the implementation of IQMS.
This study used a qualitative research design in order to study human action from an insider's perspective Babbie, According to Babbie , before one can observe and analyse one needs a plan, one needs to determine what one is going to observe, and analyse why and how. The researchers used open-ended interviews to study the problem from the participants' perspective based on their personal experiences regarding the IQMS.
The study was conducted at schools in Mgwenya circuit in Mpumalanga, South Africa. There are 26 schools in the circuit, 16 primary and 10 secondary. This circuit was selected because of its accessibility and because the researchers believed it could provide the rich information necessary to address the research questions. In order to obtain rich information, the researchers identified four schools in the area as sample size does not matter in a qualitative study, but the depth and quality of the information obtained. One of the researchers is an educator at a primary school.
The researchers' familiarity with primary schools informed the decision to focus on these schools rather than secondary schools. The following participants were chosen from each school:. Permission was sought and granted from the relevant authorities to visit the schools. At the beginning of each interview the interviewer explained the purpose of the study to the educators and sought the participant's voluntary cooperation. All protocols appropriate for such research were observed, such as informed consent in which each participant signed a consent form; confidentiality and right to privacy, protection from any form of harm and that participants were not to be treated as objects or numbers Welman et al.
The study employed open-ended interviews which allowed for a freer flow of information than structured interviews would permit. Probing was used for detailed exploration. The participants were named using the letters of the alphabet MM1, MM2, MM3 and so forth to uphold the principle of anonymity.
Data analysis was undertaken using a thematic approach. The contents within each theme were analysed to establish emerging patterns of information as well as differences and contrasting points. The researchers adopted the most critical data for analysis, including verbatim quotes for illustration. Initiating change and introducing IQMS. The principals were supposed to sell the idea, but some were against it due to a lack of clarity. Nkonki and Mammen maintain that different perceptions of the purpose of the IQMS result in educators implementing it in different ways.
They add that it is critical for IQMS programme facilitators to appreciate the cognitive processes associated with interpretations and perceptions which impact on implementation, as these could either bolster or undermine the IQMS. The responses that follow illustrate the way the principals advocated the IQMS:. MM1: They the department did not introduce it properly. The training period was short, all the steps were not clearly explained, and even the guiding material does not give the practical part to it.
Another principal had this to say:. I thought it was about money; and teacher development was not the core issue. It is only now that I am beginning to have a clue of what is happening. During the interviews it became clear that the influence of the principal plays a vital role in the IQMS. The majority of the participants agree that when the IQMS was introduced, the facilitators rushed into it as though it was an awareness campaign. Teachers felt that not enough time was provided to allow them to digest and familiarize themselves with the concept.
Implementation was haphazard, and the advocacy was poor, because those introducing the system were themselves not clear on its objectives.
This created the impression that teachers were resisting change. Waddell and Sohal observe that such resistance points to the need to flag areas that may not have been well thought out or are "perhaps plain wrong". Teachers and principals were trained in just one day. While some participants felt that the training period was sufficient, many disagreed. The views expressed are encapsulated in the following excerpt:. MM6: It was not enough.
They were rushing it saying time is not on their side [but] this thing [IQMS] needed to be implemented. That is why it is boring. We were packed in a hall, it was not conducive. The participants felt that they needed more time to comprehend the material. Furthermore, the principals and the School Management Teams were supposed to go back to their schools and explain how the IQMS could be put into practice. Teachers believed that a week's training would have been sufficient for an understanding of the entire process. A lack of understanding on both sides hampered the process because teachers needed to go further and consult on how to implement the system.
Challenges faced in implementing the IQMS. According to the respondents, some of the challenges are due to the frustrations of not knowing whether one is doing the right thing or not. We are afraid to give people low marks even if they deserve them [low marks] because it will look as if you are disadvantaging them to get the money. As the above excerpt illustrates, educators feel obliged to give high scores to those peers who are not performing well, so that they can receive the increase.
An educator complained vehemently about class observation:. MM The problem is with the class visit. Teachers totally don't want IQMS especially the observation part in class. They should come up with another way of checking teachers work than observing us in class. I don't feel free if there are people watching me and I make lots of mistakes under such circumstances. Teachers feel that observations cause disruptions, if two teachers are evaluating another teacher, who will be in their classes? They feel that it is not their duty to evaluate other teachers as this will not be a true reflection of what takes place in the classroom.
Some educators criticized the IQMS on the grounds of the criteria used to evaluate them. MM6: Some of the criteria which are used to evaluate are not fair such as involvement in extramural activities. There are prescribed activities which teachers can engage in.
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I am in girl guides, but I cannot be credited because it is not on the list of activities. Some teachers had positive attitudes towards the IQMS, while others did not. As with any change, most teachers were initially negative. With time, however, some have come to accept it as a tool that will help them to develop.
The skeptics among the educators asked, "how can a blind person lead another" referring to the fact that teachers are supposed to develop one another. Those with high scores are supposed to help those with lower scores. However, the problem is that they score high marks because the scoring is directly linked to remuneration rates, rather than the fact that they are capable. A principal stated that:. MM1: I don't see any changes with regard to the attitudes of teachers towards.
There are no changes. Even the time for. IQMS is not enough to implement. You may see the weaknesses of the teacher in as far as teaching is concerned. Development must happen within the school. If at the school there is no one who is an expert in that field, who is going to help you?
Teachers also noted that the workshop conducted at the school was not beneficial, since they were not sure whether or not they were on the right path. Other educators identified positive elements of the IQMS as the following excerpts illustrate:. A principal reflected on the evolution of attitudes:. If we can change the attitude that IQMS is not about money, but about development, then we can make progress. Money is only a motivational factor. It is money which is destroying it. Those teachers who were positive about the IQMS highlighted cooperation, development and progress in their career, despite the challenges.
This is in line with Nkonki and Mammen's argument that policy makers and administrators should take educators' concerns seriously lest the programme be subverted. Teachers were asked to list their expectations of the IQMS. The results revealed that they feel that there are no guidelines to follow for the school workshops. They stated that they merely conducted the workshops for the record.
Linked to this is the fact that those in charge of the IQMS at district office level do not visit the schools to establish whether the workshops are solving the problems; instead they come to see if the IQMS is being implemented. Another educator highlighted that in primary schools,. MM4: Your peer will be the person who is teaching the same grade as you are. That teacher must evaluate you.
The new teachers benefit from you while most of the veterans think of it as a waste oftime. When they conduct the workshops at the district offices, they do not call all the educators. They just call the School Development Group and update them. The School Development Group is supposed to report back to the schools. However, many do not do so due to time constraints.
MM6: What I disapprove is what the government is doing to us. We work very hard even during school holidays.
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The issue of money is a problem, because some teachers are neglecting the developmental part of IQMS to focus on the money. Teachers score themselves high marks, if one scores 4 that means one is excellent and one must develop other teachers. However, the teachers with high scores are reluctant to help others, thus denying them the opportunity to learn within the school.
Nkonki and Mammen argue that conceptual mastery of the IQMS by educators should be prioritized during the execution stage because this can make or break the programme. Participants were asked how they would rate the IQMS. None of the participants rated it as excellent. The rating ranged from poor to good, primarily because of the experience they gained while implementing the system. A principal commented:. MM1: It is 2 out of 5. It does not develop. I don't get it. We don 't cover all the steps, because of time. There is no time for this. Another principal said that teachers need development, but it is not happening in an acceptable way because other components of the school routine suffer while conducting the IQMS.
One educator, MM11, said,. But they do not have the answers. They need experts on IQMS to ascertain if those who develop are indeed doing the right thing". One educator commented as follows on self evaluation:. MM I did not evaluate myself.
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The first step is for teachers to evaluate themselves. Teachers need to know the areas they need help with and those observing will assist and determine how to help. Those who do not evaluate themselves will do themselves a disservice as the initiative is designed to promote development rather than a salary increase. If teachers are not evaluated, it will be difficult to identify skills gaps. It is the responsibility of the Development Support Group to discuss the evaluation with the educator and to give feedback.
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Issues are resolved and a report is sent to the Staff Development Team for appropriate action. Asked about the feedback, educators responded as follows:. MM Yes, it helps a lot, like now I am able to maintain discipline and do the correct seating arrangement. MM Which one, which feedback? Where do we get the feedback? Who must give us that feedback? I don't remember getting any feedback since I have been with this school.
It is just the principal shouting at us saying we cannot do this and that. The study revealed that most of the educators agreed that they do receive feedback after evaluation, but they are not satisfied with the answers. However, some said they never received feedback. The IQMS uses a rating scale from Asked how they were rated on their performance, the educators responded as follows:. MM5: Yes, I was. Sometimes they give you 4 which is the highest mark. They will say we won't write the 4 on your score sheet.
They will give you a 3 because if they give you a 4, you have to go and develop other teachers from different schools. Another principal gave me a 3. I don't know if it is necessary to get below 4 even if you qualify for 4. There is a problem with the scoring. MM No, I was notfairly scored. The comments were negative; I was evaluated on things that I cannot change - contextual factors. Overcrowding is not my problem.
I am there to teach, so if they comment and say the situation is not conducive for learning and they give you low marks for that - that is not fair.