The Innovative School: Organization and Instruction

The Innovative School: Organization and Instruction

The Innovative School: Organization and Instruction

The Innovative School: Organization and Instruction

Synopsis

Schools are described as social systems whose primary organizational features are closely interrelated. Methods for coordinating these features are presented so schools can restructure their bureaucratic orientation. The interrelated nature of a school's various subsystems is highlighted to point out how they can be coordinated so genuine restructuring can be achieved and maintained.

Excerpt

This is a book we should welcome for several reasons. For one thing, it contains a very reasoned, non-polemical analysis of the major types of efforts to change and improve schools. At the same time, it indicates why most of these efforts have produced meager results. The reasons are many but among the most important are those that have to do with matters of scope, implementation, substantive focus, a shallow conception of the culture of the school, and the purposes of schooling. The authors know whereof they speak because for decades they have been involved in school change efforts which were not only truly heroic but rigorously conducted and commendably analyzed, with impressive results. Professors Sharan, Shachar, and Levine are deservedly recognized for their studies of what is required to incorporate cooperative learning in real classrooms in real schools where problems abound. I said their efforts were heroic, and by that I meant that they took the culture of the school seriously: they adapted a realistic perspective, they did not underestimate what teachers had to unlearn and learn, and they dealt with the daily realities and complexities of schools. If you trace the development of their thinking over the decades, it becomes clear why they had to write this book.

This book is about far more than cooperative learning. It is about the organization of schools and how it impacts negatively on teachers and students despite the good intentions of everyone in the schools. The authors do not engage in the game of blame assignment; there are no villains. There is a historically determined organizational structure which is at cross purposes to creating and sustaining contexts of productive learning both for teachers and students. No one who reads this book will conclude that you can improve student learning without improving the conditions which at present do not provide the contexts of productive learning. It is a distinguishing feature of this book that the point . . .

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