Change and Effectiveness in Schools: A Cultural Perspective by Gretchen B. Rossman

By Gretchen B. Rossman

The search for more beneficial faculties has possibly by no means been tougher than it really is this day. right here, the authors think of and examine that problem from the cultural standpoint. Rossman, Corbett, and Firestone tested 3 excessive colleges in the middle of swap. lecturers and directors consented to furnish the authors a yr in every one in their respective settings as a way to comprehend larger their detailed method of norms, ideals, and values in addition to to trace their reactions to occasions. the resultant observations and interviews display a wealthy and unique photograph of the efforts to house new regulations and practices in addition to many of the assets of resistance to alter within the faculties. The checklist of the authors’ trips with those faculties presents educators, coverage makers, and researchers--all these attracted to institution swap and renewal in addition to employees improvement within the schools--with a greater realizing of the complicated texture and that means of academic reform.

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The two terms define completely different orders of reality, not just opposite poles of a continuum (Durkheim, 1965). The sacred is enduring, efficacious, and gives life its meaning (Eliade, 1959). For that reason, "as Durkheim points out, the ways in which we can approach the sacred are very limited. We must be diffident, careful, and respectful" (Gordon, 1984:9697). On the other hand, the profane reflects the temporary adjustments to everyday life, the transitory side of existence. It is continually being redefined.

Are there general rules for implementing new programs that hold regardless of what the new program is intended to achieve, or does the purpose for which new policies and practices are designed affect what happens to them when they are put to use? It has already been suggested that the latter is the case. Both teachers and other members of the school community are likely to respond to a change in terms of its fit with the existing culture. Another way to approach the same phenomenon is to suggest that school cultures and innovations imply specific definitions of effectiveness.

This interpretive activity can also become an arena through which conflicts between factions in an organization determine which definitions of what is true and good prevail. For example, the terms curriculum alignment and teaching to the test connote differently the legitimacy of altering curriculum content to better match the content contained in a particular test. Leaders can convey why an act or policy is important by what they call it, but staff members may redefine the same phenomena by employing different terminology.

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