Change Theory in Education Essay

Since its inception in the late asses, public schools In America have undergone many changes. Thomas Jefferson goal of state-supported educational systems is now a reality which extends beyond a basic elementary school In each community to offer secondary schooling to all Americans. This widespread, free, public education for all is not without its critics.

Education reform movements trace back as early as the asses when changes in the economy spurred by westward expansion, immigration, and arbitration called upon schools to create a nationalist spirit and help socialize ewe Americans into the culture (Dozer, Violas, & Senses, 2002). Change continues to be a part of American education. Linen’s change theory and system’s thinking and learning are two change theories discussed In current literature. The flirts theory, the Leaning Approach, is a Human Relations theory.

Linen’s (as cited in Duffy, 2004) theory stated that in order to change a system people must first visualize the desired organizational framework. After assessing the goals, the organization compares them to the organization’s current state looking for gaps between the two. Finally, they develop a change plan composed of long-range and horn-term goals that will move their system toward those goals. Linen’s approach also suggests involving workers in the decision making process to promote greater acceptance of the changes (Marion, 2002).

Duffy (2004) challenges Linen’s system stating that a school system’s complexity makes a straightforward theory such as Linen’s Impossible to Implement. Duff’s logic Is that “If change leaders In school systems assume that the strategic path from the present to the future Is relatively straightforward when the actual path is winding, then people engaged in systemic change soon will be off the true path and lost” (p. 317). The non-linear nature of large and diverse school systems best operates under an opens-systems theory rather than the closed-system Leaning theory.

In spite of Its obvious drawbacks, schools utilize much of Linen’s Orlando theory when implementing change. For example, gaining stakeholder acceptance by including them in the decision-making process is the cornerstone of change in a successful school culture. Additionally, Linen’s idea of developing organizational goals to move toward is crucial to organizational success. Marion (2004) points out that the primary difficulty with Linen’s theory is Its closed system approach.

While many districts may focus on student achievement as a central goal, they cannot Ignore health and socioeconomic Issues as factors affecting the goal. For this reason, Linen’s theory cannot work in school systems. Attempts to implement this type of theory would require schools to disregard the broad scope of responsibilities inherent in a school system in order to focus on singular goals such as student achievement. A better theory for implementing change In school systems can be found in the complexity I energy. Carrollton Orlando p 302), complexity tenure… s a silence of large interactive networks and nonlinear cause and effect. A cousin to this theory is articulated in Gene’s book, The Fifth Discipline where Sense (as cited in Marion, 2004, p. 322) posits that “organizations must be understood systematically. ” Sense (1990) and Avail (1996) call for organizations to focus on becoming learning organizations. According to Sense (1990), in a learning organization “people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire,… New and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured,… Elective aspiration is set free, and … People are continually learning how to learn together” (p. 3). This dynamic environment of continual learning is more conducive to educational institutions whose primary goal is learning. Complexity theory, Sense (1990), and Avail (1996) all suggest that school systems must look at the big picture of the organization and determine how changes in one subsystem may affect a different subsystem. According to Marion (2004, p. 327), complexity theory “calls for leaders who can make sense of complexity. Understanding that the school district is a series of interrelated parts is crucial to realizing Gene’s learning organization. In order to implement change in schools, Duffy (2004) suggests that there are three tats to system learning. Districts must improve work processes, internal social architecture, and external support simultaneously in order to maximize the change effects (Duffy, 2004; Avail, 1996). Failure to improve all aspects of a system results in ineffective change. At the school level, leaders must improve the work processes; the work of a school is learning.

A school leader’s responsibility is as a leader of learning, both student learning and teacher learning (Harnesses & Fink, 2003). However, a school leader’s change efforts cannot be sustained without support and systemic change across the entire system. Harnesses and Fink (2003) report that the most effective organizations distribute leadership in order to harness the combined intellect of the organization. Therefore to initiate change, schools should be a place where teachers, students, parents, and principals are leaders.

This reasoning is not unlike Linen’s theory of involving workers in the decision-making process. Developing a culture of shared leadership reaps rewards in accepting change. Inevitably educators are faced with changes brought on by political influences at the state and national level. As new legislation continues to impose unfunded mandates, schools are faced with doing more with less. Avail (1996) calls these changes permanent white water: “the complex, turbulent, changing environment in which we are all trying to operate” (p. ). Creating a learning organization equips workers with the skills necessary to meet the demands of a constantly changing environment. Leaders of dynamic institutions such as schools must model learning at every opportunity to demonstrate how to tackle impending changes. Avail (1996) says leaders must take the lead in elderly learning in order to show others in the organization now to comprehend, accept, Ana support change (p. Sense might call this demonstration of elderly learning building a shared vision.

Fostering a shared vision invites commitment from all stakeholders because the vision transcends personal interest to encompass the organization as a whole. In addition, unlike Linen’s theory, the shared vision looks at all components of the organization rather than focusing on one subsystem. Just as schools in the asses were called upon to meet the needs of a changing society, schools today must also meet the needs of a changing society. Increased arbitration, child poverty, and technological advances demand that education adders respond with programs to meet those requirements.

Over 200 hundred years of public education in America has demonstrated that change is an integral part of school systems. “The organizations that will truly excel in the future will be the organizations that discover how to tap people’s commitment and capacity to learn at all levels in an organization” (Sense, 1990, p. 4). Creating a system that promotes and demands learning of all stakeholders is the key to developing a successful organization. References: Duffy, F. M. (2004). The destination of three paths: Improved student, faculty and staff, and system learning. Educational Forum, 68(4), 313.

Retrieved August 28, 2004, from Proudest database. Harnesses, A. , & Fink, D. (2003). Sustaining leadership. Phi Delta Kappa, 84(9), 693-700. Retrieved July 20, 2004, from Obscenest database. Marion, R. (2002). Leadership in education: organizational theory for the practitioner. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc. Sense, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline. New York: Doubleday. Dozer, S. E. , Violas, P. C. , & Senses, G. (2002). School and society (4th De. ). New York: McGraw-Hill. Avail, P. B. (1996). Learning as a way of being. San Francisco: Josses-Bass.

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