School Improvement for Real

School Improvement for Real

School Improvement for Real

School Improvement for Real

Synopsis

As societies continue to set educational goals that are, on current performance, beyond the capacity of the system to deliver, strategies for enhancing student learning through school and classroom intervention have become increasingly important. Yet, as David Hopkins argues in this book, many of the educational initiatives developed recently under the umbrella of school improvement are inadequate of unhelpful. Simply blaming teachers and delegating financial responsibility, he maintains, has little positive impact on classroom practice. Similarly, school heads who restrict their influence to bureaucratic intervention, ignoring the learning level, should not be surprised when student achievement scores fail to rise. This is the bleak context within which school improvement has to operate today. It is a situation predisposed towards short-term remedies for profound problems, in organisational settings not always conducive to enhancing student achievement and learning. School Improvement for Real offers a genuine alternative: a strategy for educational change that focuses on student achievement by modifying classroom practice, and adapting the management arrangements within the school to support teaching and learning. It outlines an approach to school improvement that has a medium term, systemic orientation, providing both principles and suggestions for better practice. The author's experience in the field of school improvement ensures that the text is informed by a practical wisdom that is so often lacking from the more typical managerial texts on improvement and effectiveness.

Excerpt

The crucial point is that the proposal is not to be regarded as an unqualified recommendation but rather as a provisional specification claiming no more than to be worth putting to the test of practice. Such proposals claim to be intelligent rather than correct.

Lawrence Stenhouse - An Introduction to Curriculum Research
and Development

[The] differences between schools in outcome were systematically related to their characteristics as social institutions … All of these factors were open to modification by the staff, rather than fixed by external constraints …The implication is that the individual actions or measures may combine to create a particular ethos, or set of values, attitudes and behaviours which will become characteristic of the school as a whole.

Michael Rutter - Fifteen Thousand Hours

It goes without saying that this is a large project for one mind to try to put between two covers; I am painfully aware that I may not have succeeded, that I may have bitten off too much and may have tried to put it too sparely so that it could all fit in. As in most of my other work, I have reached far beyond my competence and have probably secured for good a reputation for flamboyant gestures. But the times still crowd me and give me no rest, and I see no way to avoid ambitious synthetic attempts; either we get some kind of grip on the accumulation of thought or we continue to wallow helplessly, to starve amidst plenty. So I gamble with science and write, but the game seems to me very serious and necessary.

Ernest Becker - Escape from Evil

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