Transform, not reform

Greg Whitby said:

more businesses are moving away from improving old models to responding to the changing needs of consumers (and employees) within the context of a rapidly changing world. In addition, real time data has helped to create a whole new paradigm for doing things differently, thinking creatively and responding immediately.

On the flip side, education is still wedded to the improvement model; looking for enhanced solutions to old problems. We operate on the assumption that we can control the variables, link performance to accountability measures and tighten up processes. Where are the innovative solutions?

Improvement is no longer the challenge so let’s use educational conferences and colloquiums to focus on how we change the system not how we fix it. As Sir Ken Robinson says the challenge is not to reform but to transform.


3 Responses to “Transform, not reform”

  1. Great post. So true.
    When I attend PD sessions, usually consists of either (1) salesmen telling me “let’s look at this new tech so we can figure out how we can use it for something…must be something we could use it for!” which usually turns out to be pointless repackaging of the exact same content/approaches but now with a shiny new tech interface; or (2) people decrying how changing world is eroding traditional standards, and doubling down on old ineffective approaches in defence of better rote memorization etc. Where’s the thinking different? So often disappointed.
    To take just one example, why is the question for online educators so often “what can we do to make this more like a real classroom experience?” That’s only a good question if you think there is some lost golden age of the classroom. Classrooms were never all that great. Let’s liberate the tech to explore completely new approaches that give students ownership of their learning, that facilitate learning rather than control it….
    [Sometimes feels as if the only decent PD I get is at science fiction conferences where authors actually think through what a really different way of doing things might look like in the future….]

  2. Yes! At one of the first schools I taught at the AP gave a beginning of the year speech about how schools never change. She showed pictures of school buildings over the years vs pictures of corporate buildings over the years. Schools haven’t changed with the times for decades in every way imaginable. So what solutions do you have in mind for making change possible?

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