Images of Educational Change

By Herbert Altrichter; John Elliott | Go to book overview

4
Community, school change and strategic
networking

PETER POSCH


Introduction

In this chapter I discuss the view that major challenges which schools are facing are not ‘home-made’ but effects of developments in the larger society. Two megatrends in society and their implications for schools are outlined. One of the emerging answers to social change is the development of ‘dynamic networks’ linking schools and communities and providing opportunities for an extension of the traditional concept of learning, to include the production of local knowledge and joint ventures between students, teachers and community agencies to shape the conditions of life. They provide opportunities for the young to act on their environment in a responsible and constructive way and understand that they ‘matter’ in society. An example of such a network is elaborated. The final section provides some theoretical reflections on the character of dynamic networks and on their strengths and potential problems.


Trends in society and implications for schools

The process of individualization

There are hardly any differences of opinion about the global process of individualization. ‘The individual moves out of historical social structures and bonds and loses traditional securities with respect to knowledge in action, to beliefs, and to guiding norms’ (Popp 1996). This is one side of the coin. Helmut Fend (1990) expresses the other side. For him the programmatic claim of the Enlightenment has become a realistic claim in our days: ‘The right, the duty and the opportunity to use one's mind without being led by somebody

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