Week 9 reflection: Trends and Issues in P-12 Educational Change

Piecemeal vs. Systemic Change

In our reading this week, the section on Piecemeal vs. Systemic Change stood out to me. My experiences thus far had led me to believe that piecemeal change is not a desirable thing. It seemed like tinkering with something could cause more trouble than good. The text points out that piecemeal change can actually be ideal if the system or thing being changed is relatively stable. Though, the text also indicates that change in one area can, and often does, affect other pieces of a complete system. A minor change could result in a piece of the system that no longer works or fits with anything else. After having read this, I’m not completely clear on what the author’s position is: is it good or bad to make minor changes? Further on in the chapter the authors led us through a description of perspectives on what systematic change means to different stake holders and members of an organization or community. Ultimately, we are led to the conclusion that ecological systemic change, which takes the whole system and effects of change into account, is an ideal way to implement change. According to the authors, to be successful in implementing change one must make improvements on work being done by partners in the system, with the leadership, and with the external community.

From past experience, I know that change can be difficult — particularly when you are attempting to change something other than what you have direct control over (namely, ones self). I don’t agree with the authors that one must move on multiple fronts in order to have successful, long lasting, and meaningful change. I think that systemic change can be achieved by forming smaller partnerships with associates. The result of the collaboration, if perceived to be a positive one, can and does have a lasting impact on other areas.

Guidance System for Transforming Education

The section on the Guidance System for Transforming Education (GSTE) also was a stand-out and thought provoking section. I really liked that the GSTE had core values associated with its process. The values enable participants in a change process to have a common vision regarding intent and desired outcomes. I like processes that are organized into phases and steps. Knowing where we are at in a process, where we are going, and what steps remain can help a team stay focused and motivated while participating in a large scale project. I also liked the clear and simple list of ongoing events that occur when using the GSTE: evaluating and improving the process, building support, keeping a strong motivation and momentum etc.

In my opinion, the three strengths of the GSTE are:

  1. Team members are able to agree upon the goals and associated intent of a project
  2. Everyone understands that participation and process in the project is ongoing and organically changing over time
  3. That there are specific steps and phases required for achieving the desired outcome

Of all the systems and approaches listed in the chapter, I think that all could be easily adapted for both large and small scale projects. This chapter provided a good cookbook of ideas that we could utilize in order to realize success in our day-to-day jobs.

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