These last two sections are indeed more brief. Here is the tenth of ten, focusing on effecting positive social change. Now on to the conclusion… then the annotated bibliography… and the Application portion of the KAM… there’s still a lot of work to do.
UPDATE: Actually, I’m including a cut and dry conclusion here and moving on. :)
10. Effect Positive Social Change
In the end, parents and the community do not exist so much to improve schools as schools exist to improve the community, or society at large. Professional learning community theorists tend to subscribe to the view that the purpose of any school change is to effect positive social change.
The DuFours in particular support this view, from their philosophy of service leadership (Eaker, DuFour, & DuFour, 2002, p. 54) to their efforts to “building engines of hope” (DuFour, Eaker, & DuFour, 2005, p. 110). In short, they believe that the “most powerful fuel for sustaining the initiative to improve a school is not the desire to raise test scores but rather the moral imperative …the professional learning community concept offers the best strategy for connecting educators to that moral imperative” (DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Karhanek, 2004, p. 11-12). Put another way, school change is made “not for the sake of improved test scores, but for the sake of the dreams and aspirations of the children whose lives they touch” (p. 192).
Others in the field espouse similar philosophies. Wald and Castleberry (2000) suggested that educators “see each other as human beings brimming with possibility and potential” rather than “as part of an assembly line” (p. 14). Roberts and Pruitt (2003) were interested in “in identifying, celebrating, and modeling on an ongoing bases those behaviors and accomplishments that reinforce the positive aspects of the culture” (p. 177). Hord (2004) was also interested in being sure that “students of all social backgrounds benefit equally, regardless of race, gender, or family income” (p. 12). Acknowledging the interconnectedness of education and societal change, Stone and Cuper (2006) concluded that “”we must be forever vigilant in our search for creative and unique solutions to help us meet the educational needs of our students and prepare them for the society and world these changes will bring” (p. 89). Stone and Cuper also captured the spirit of education for social change when they wrote that:
“Recognizing the global nature of educating our children has provided the children the opportunity to take their education into their own hands and act as leaders in the community. It has given parents input they had been denied, creating a more positive relationship with the school. It provides the greater community a chance to give back and act as stewards for the environment and the children who live there. No one is left in doubt as to his or her contribution to each child’s education or his or her role in creating a positive change in the world.” (Stone and Cuper, 2006, p. 53)
The use of new educational technologies, such as video games and simulations, is not an end unto itself. The change agents responsible for the implementation of such technologies must always keep in mind the question of whether or not the greater social good is being served by the changes they propose.
Based on the works of DuFour & DuFour, Wald & Castlebury, Huffman & Hipp, Roberts & Pruit, Hord, and Stone & Cuper, a working theory of school change has been presented in three sections: Facilitating Organizational Change, Overcoming Resistance to Organizational Change, and Integrating Organizational Change with Society. Five principles of school change related to Facilitating Organizational Change: respect the realities of change; establish mission, vision, values, and goals; focus on what’s important; develop leadership; and develop teaching. Three more principles related to Overcoming Resistance to Organizational Change: respond to obstacles, challenges, and barriers; sustain the process; and, develop learning. Finally, the last two principals related to Integrating School Organizational Change with Society: include family and community, and effect positive school change. In addition to the similar principles presented in the breadth portion of the KAM, these additional principles can, and should, be used to guide the process of integrating video games and simulations as educational technologies in a constructivist learning environment.