Educational change fails many more times than it succeeds. One of the main reasons is that implementation - or the process of achieving something new into practice - has been neglected. During the 1970s and 1980s a number of us have been working on a 'practical theory of change', attempting to uncover the many layers of complexity in the change process. This book is an attempt to convey some of the things we have learned in using the implementation perspective for successful school improvement. Chapter 1 provides an overview of this knowledge, identifying factors and processes associated with success, and pointing to courses of action.
The remaining chapters are more specific but no less fundamental. Chapter 2 investigates the implementation issues involved in the use of microcomputers in classrooms - a highly popular but complex innovation of the 1980s and 1990s. Chapter 3 shifts attention to the school district in a case study of a school district model for systematic curriculum implementation. Chapter 4 takes a fresh look at the pivotal role of the school principal as a leader of institutional development and reform.
Chapter 5 clarifies the role of staff development and innovation. Since staff development is widely regarded as critical for implementation, it is important to sort out its role, which is indeed powerful, but multifaceted. This chapter links staff development with fundamental school improvement. The final chapter takes up the issue of how teacher development, school development and implementation are interrelated. The limitations of the concept of implementation are examined, while taking up more basic issues of teacher and institutional development needed for lasting school improvement.
I have been fortunate to work directly with the best international experts in implementation over the years. I learned a great deal and made many friendships. I acknowledge with gratitude what I have learned and enjoyed, in working with the following colleagues: Stephen Anderson, Barrie Bennett, Ray Bolam, Michael Connelly, David Crandall, Per Dalin, Peter Grimmett, Gene Hall, Andy Hargreaves, David Hopkins, Michael Huberman, Bruce