30 August, 2008

Common erroneous assumptions

Many schools and school systems are being badly damaged by systemic change initiatives. Such initiatives are based on erroneous notions of cause and effect as they relate to all organisations and to schools in particular.

Change initiatives generally assume that
(1) Some expert knows about the changes required and how to achieve them
(2) There are few or no current constraints on the school's capacity to solve problems and change
(3) The relationships between cause and effect in the phenomena involved are consistent over time and place
(4) The outcomes of the change initiatives are predictable
(5) Solutions are close (and deliverable) to where the problem manifest itself
(6) There are problems because schools don't know what is happening
(7) Schools don't know what they are doing (or need to do)
(8) Change in schools can be achieved by directing the actions of teachers, and hence,
(9) If the outcomes are not achieved then the school (staff) is somehow responsible
(10) Doing something (about the problem) is better than doing nothing
(11) Those in charge of the situation are also responsible for it
(12) Those in charge are in control