Successful School Improvement: The Implementation Perspective and Beyond

By Michael G. Fullan | Go to book overview
Save to active project

1: Successful School Improvement
and the Implementation
Perspective

Remarkably, the history of the careful study of the educational change process is quite young. It is only since the 1960s that we have been able to understand how educational change works in practice. We have come to call the decade of the 1960s the adoption era, because educators were preoccupied with how many innovations of the day were being 'taken on', or adopted. It was a penod of new maths, new chemistry and physics, open education, individualized instruction, team teaching, and so on. Innovations, the more the better, became the mark of progress.

Around 1970, almost overnight, innovation got a bad name. The term 'implementation' - what was happening (or not happening) in practice - came into use. Goodlad and his colleagues' Behind the Classroom Door (1970), Sarason's The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change (1971), Gross and associates' Implementing Organizational Innovations (1971), and Smith and Keith's Anatomy of Educational Innovation (1971), all published at the turn of the decade, exposed the problem. Innovations were being adopted without anyone asking why (change for the sake of change), and no forethought was being given to follow-through. Charter and Jones (1973) captured it succinctly in referring to the problem of evaluating innovations as 'the risk of appraising non-events'.

Implementation focuses on what happens in practice. It is concerned with the nature and extent of actual change, as well as the factors and processes that influence how and what changes are achieved. More broadly, the implementation perspective captures both the content and process of contending with new ideas, programmes, activities, structures, policies, etc. new to the people involved. In particular, the implementation perspective concerns itself with whether any change has actually occurred in practice. It demonstrates a bias for action in attempting to understand and influence improvements at the level of practice.

There are two main reasons why it is important to focus on implementation. The first is that we do not know what has changed (if anything) unless we attempt to conceptualize and measure it directly. We cannot view policies or innovations as simply entering or being generated by the system and somehow

-21-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Successful School Improvement: The Implementation Perspective and Beyond
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 130

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?