The Revolution Revisited: Effective Schools and Systemic Reform

By Barbara O. Taylor; Pamela Bullard | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
Changing the Culture
of Schools

In order for the Effective Schools Process to permeate a school system, it must change the basic culture of the schools. Without such broad change, the classroom changes described in the previous chapter will become isolated and eventually the benefits obtained will wither away.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s a knowledge explosion occurred around the concept of organizational learning, which was defined as a group process within the organization by which the organization's members come to understand the relationship between their actions and corporate outcomes (Duncan and Weiss 1979). Researchers began to realize that new organizational structures are not likely to be reliable until an organization's culture is changed to support the new framework of ideas. Certainly institutionalization of these changes would not occur. In schools, once the innovative instructional leader left, the school usually would fall back into old ways of operating and teachers would revert to the status quo.

The concept of culture is "rooted more in theories of group dynamics and group growth than in anthropological theories of how large cultures evolve," says Edgar Schein ( 1985). He continues:

When we study organizations, we do not have to decipher a completely strange language or set of customs and mores. Rather, our problem is to distinguish — within a broader host culture — the unique features of a particular social unit

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