Educational Change

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Analyse a story about an educational reform happened in a secondary school and comment its effectiveness based on the organizational theories. -------------------------------------------------

1. Introduction

The Education Commission Report No.7 released in September of 1997 suggested to build a quality culture in schools(EDB, 1997) . Since that, schools and education institutions of all levels experienced changes and reforms in various scale and kinds. Schools are no longer stable and predictable places. Schools and school systems had gradually turned into a mode of modern organization: departmentalized and bureaucratized in last century. However, in last two decades, the reform in education has been launched in all over the world. It is clearly because of the needs of new millennium – we are moving or even already in the postmodern age now. The postmodern age world is fast, compressed, complex and uncertain(Hargreaves, 1994). Schools are places for preparing the generations of the future, therefore, changes are essential to all educational organizations.

In this paper, the story about the culture reform happened in a one-through school will be told to provide a case-study of how an evolution occurred in an educational system. The dimensions, type and effectiveness of reform will be discussed.

2. Literature Review

We know change is essential to postmodern education system. But change for change is not help and not what we want. An educational change, is assumed to help schools to achieve their goals more effectively, theoretically. It is important to bear in mind that change is a process, not an event(Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991)

Literature provides the category for the change. Superficial changes , like changes in content, structure or policy, which induces improvement on something currently doing, are classified as first order change. Those changes occur on those fundamental, for example, goals and roles, are classified as second order change. (Cuban, 1988)

"Educational change depends on what teachers do and think-it's as simple and complex as that"(Fullan, 1991, P.117). While what the teachers do and think is a reflection of their basic assumption and belief or the change is just superficial. It is vital to understand the culture of the organization and how it affects the norms and behaviors. (Stoll & Fink, 1996). There are fundamental relationship between culture and effectiveness(Rossman et al., 1988).

Though school culture is powerful, schools are more comfortable to first order change than second order change (Cuban, 1988; Fullan & Stiegelbauer, 1991). But first order change would not be internalized without second order change(Leithwood, Aitken, & Jantzi, 2001).

3. A Story about Changing the School

School X was a band three secondary school in a very new developed district in Hong Kong. Included School X, there were two secondary schools in the district, which with population of around 60,000. In the fifth year of school X being set up, a vice-principal of another school (for convenience, we called him/her W) of the same sponsoring body was sent to this school. At this time, school X was obviously in adverse position compared with another school in the district. Almost all higher banding students chose another school, over 80% of students of School X is in band 3 while over half of these students were in territorial bottom 10%. Most of the middle managers were not functioned. Teachers with negative attitude were majority. Some teachers had passion and willing to pay effort for students, but because of the norm and culture, what their effect was confined. Students lacked of interest and motivation in their learning, not mentioned to have any confidence and expectation on their own academic performance. The impression of School X was terrible in the community. “Fortunately”, the number of classes and teaching group of school X were small and still...
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