The unarticulated obvious

Reading Michael Fullen – as one does when looking at educational change I was struck by the blindingly obvious. But before I get to that, another skipped given was reading Fullen.

My supervisor had been trying very hard to prompt me to say his name in one of our first meetings, as he asked me who I had been reading in the early days (hours) of my PhD journey. As my topic was deeply snuggled into the educational change nest, Fullen was an obvious choice. But I hadn’t even thought of adding his name to my research terms. Why? It seemed so ‘bleedin’ obvious’, once said, I mean working for Education Queensland you could hardly miss the name. It was a classic moment of not knowing that you know. I spoke Andy Hargreaves name, but then I’d met him – well I was in the audience when he presented at the international Principals’ conference in Cairns in 2013. Hard to forget the push up demonstration to illustrate what occurs when all countries focus on being in the top 3 for PISA – not a demonstration that Andreas Schleicher repeated when he spoke a day later, shame really.

On reading the introduction to Fullen’s, The new meaning of educational change, I was struck by the realization that nowhere have I mentioned that the sustainable change that I am aiming to determine processes to create in rural and remote educational settings should be geared towards improvement of student outcomes. At first I read over the words, ‘achieve continuous improvement’, then I went back and questioned what was special about them. ‘Ah ha’, love those ‘ah ha’ moments even if they occur and you want to smack your head against a brick wall – it was significant because nowhere have I recorded that basic concept – that it was change that improved student outcomes that I wanted to promote.

Of course that realization was rapidly followed by the rapid backing away from the whole area of determining what improved student outcomes! It will of course (now I’ve thought of it), be intertwined with the concept of feedback to improve policy and processes to implement change. I do wonder what else I don’t know I know and wonder how I determine such information – possibly nailing the questions.

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