Images of Educational Change

By Herbert Altrichter; John Elliott | Go to book overview
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9
Changing conceptions of action research

BRIDGET SOMEKH

‘Will you walk a little faster?’ said a whiting to a snail, ‘There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail. See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance! They are waiting on the shingle will you come and join the dance?
Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, wo'n't you join the dance?

‘You can really have no notion how delightful it will be
When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters, out to sea!’
But the snail replied ‘Too far, too far!’ and gave a look askance -
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance. Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

‘What matters it how far we go?’ his scaly friend replied.
‘There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The further off from England the nearer is to France -
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance. Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, will you join the dance?
Will you, wo'n't you, will you, wo'n't you, wo'n't you join the dance?

(Lewis Carroll, ‘The Lobster-Quadrille’, 1865)


Experiencing change

I became a teacher in a girls’ grammar school (for the more able) in England in 1971, two years before ROSLA (raising of the school leaving age to 16) and three years before the Cambridgeshire education system was reorganized to replace a two-tier selective system with open-entry comprehensive schools. Impington Village College, where I moved to work in 1973, was well known nationally as an innovative school under the leadership of an exceptional headteacher, John Brackenbury. It was an 11–18 mixed-sex, bilateral school (i. e. its pupils were separated into those who had passed or not passed the 11 + exam) which became comprehensive in 1974. Its educational values gave

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