I can’t seem to find what I want (yes, I may be pouting). I’m halfway through a second book by Fullan on educational change. The first one, The New Meaning of Educational Change (4th ed, 2007), I left a sticky note saying “I’m having trouble with Fullan”, which seemed slightly heretical. It may have been because of his focus on improving student outcomes. Don’t get me wrong, that is a very fine focus to have. I have no problem with his focus (I’m sure he’s relieved), it is an excellent focus. And yes the ultimate goal in education for all levels and perspectives is or should be improved student outcomes, especially in the three areas that Fullan discusses of literacy, numeracy and well being. But (you knew there was going to be a ‘but’), I’m having difficulty with regarding teachers and school-based personnel as separate to ‘the system’. It seems to be a point of view within some of his writing. If that is the case system-wide changes will have no bearing on what goes on in a school. And great things that are happening in a particular school, if it is not acknowledged as being part of the system, will have no influence over improving another school – OMG
So how do we create a system in which school-based, regional and central personnel are all recognized members and acknowledge their own and others’ membership? Do not ask for whom the school bell tolls. It tolls for thee.
Back to focus, my focus is further back and at the same time beyond student outcomes as it looks at the management tools of the system (school to government inclusive). To determine what changes are needed, we need to look at the data, to look at the data we need a process and tools, and we need personnel to be capable at all levels and in all areas of using those processes and tools.
So I’m finding some of what I need to build my knowledge in these early days of my Ph.D as I plough through the literature trying to clarify my research question, from search criteria such as Systems Analysis, Change Management from a business perspective, Knowledge & Information Systems rather than works by Fullan and Hargreaves, even though my perspective is firmly in and from education. Now this possible disconnect could be arising from two circumstances –
1. I have no idea what I’m doing and my journey through the fog of early Ph.D’dom is heading down the boggy path towards the sludgy bottom of the quagmire where there is a card saying ‘return to go’.
2. I am looking for a hypothosized combination of ideas and concepts that have not been created previously for an educational perspective – that would be seriously cool. Because to me that’s worth a Ph.D thesis! So instead of becoming glum as I don’t find what I’m looking for I should be getting excited when I find the knowledge and theory that I can mashup for my own tune.