The Different Faces of Co-Reform:
The challenge of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future drives our educational reform movement. In order to share Georgia State University's perspectives on this movement with an international audience, we chose a dialogue format as a microcosm of dialogues on larger scales. We cover issues, problems, and caveats confronting us as we play our role in educational reform. To set the stage, we first give a brief overview of the national, state, and local participation in this movement. Key to our discussion is how our respective beliefs, convictions, and hopes within our respective disciplines drive our efforts at contributing effectively. The voices you hear in this paper cover a wide range of professional practice, clinical experience, disciplines, scholarship, and attitudes. We openly invite others to dialogue with us as we all attempt to meet the educational challenges in a global society where the future rests in the hands of today's teachers.
It is no secret that the American educational system is in yet another wave of educational reforms. The premise of the current reform effort is threefold. First, what teachers know and what they can do is directly proportional to what students learn. Second, the way schools and school systems are organized determines what teachers can accomplish. Third, in order to apply current knowledge about teaching and learning, both schools and teacher preparation institutions must be re-engineered simultaneously in relation to each other.
In 1995, our state of Georgia, embarked on what our country calls a P-16 Initiative where the P represents preschool (age 4-5) and A16" represents the highest level of post-secondary education a student takes for successful employment in the workforce. There are five purposes of this initiative: (1) To improve student achievement to high levels from pre-school through post-secondary education; (2) to help students move smoothly from one educational system to another (e.g., secondary to post-secondary school), when movement is appropriate; (3) To ensure that all students who enter post-secondary education are prepared to succeed, and far more actually do ; (4) To improve the admission and success rates in post-secondary education of all students, especially those from minority and low income groups; and (5) To focus the co-reform of schools and preparation programs for teachers, school leaders, and educational support personnel toward practices that lead to all students meeting high academic standards.
The Georgia P-16 Council, appointed by the Governor of the state to provide over-all coordination and leadership of the P-16 Initiative, set the direction for educational change in Georgia by first defining student success, as follows: "The successful student is one who has met high standards and demonstrated achievement at each level, and is ready to advance to the next level -- of work, of occupational training, of education -- resulting in productive employment and responsible citizenship."
On the local level, the Metropolitan-Atlanta P-16 Community Council was formed in the fall of 1996 under a Chancellor's Challenge grant program of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. Georgia State University plays a leadership and fiscal role in this Council which addresses purposes 1-4 of the Georgia P-16 Initiative. The Council is comprised of (see boiler plate on this).
Georgia State University
Currently, Georgia State University is drafting a proposal to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for funding to address purpose 5 on co-reform of the Georgia P-16 Initiative. We have agreed on certain areas of debate to guide us individually and collectively within our Professional Education Faculty of the University as we progress toward the goal of the co-reform of teacher education and the education of all students in Georgia's schools and post-secondary institutions. (Professional Education Faculty at Georgia State University is a body of all professors who teach in or administratively support our teacher preparation programs. Teacher representation from the schools is included in this body. ) While programs will develop their plans for teacher education reform in individual ways based on their goals and the goals of the schools with which they work, the Professional Education Faculty co-reform efforts will incorporate certain essentials derived from our mission as an urban professional education faculty with a commitment to excellence in teacher preparation and emphasis on research-based effective practice and technology.
We acknowledge that building close working relationships with schools requires professors and teachers to examine their individual cultures to foster the best possible working relationships. Excellent working relationships will build co-reform initiatives which include teachers, administrators, and professors in the re-engineering of pre- and in-service teacher education and in the restructuring of schools. Our aim is that the teachers and administrators will be employed in the next decade by being prepared through excellent programs. We want all practicing educators to have access to continuous, high-quality learning opportunities, and we want schools in which they work to be designed to further these successes.
Areas of debate that form our professional education co-reform essentials are rigorous standards, research-based effective practice, and organizing schools for success. Undergirding these essentials is a fourth of internationalizing our curriculum.
Rigorous Standards. A strong emphasis of co-reform will be raising the bar through standards for effective teacher preparation, practice, and student performance. These disciplinary and student performance standards will clarify how teachers and administrators are prepared, what children are taught, how children are taught, and how they are assessed. Each of these forms of standards will attend to essential issues of the instructional use of technology in teaching and learning. The standards will be important determinants of initial teacher preparation and continued professional development and will serve as the basis for evaluation and research on effective practice in schools. The Professional Education Faculty co-reform effort will consider standards from the State Department of Education of Georgia, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards; national disciplinary, teaching, and assessment standards; Principles of Educating Teachers, disciplinary standards of the Metropolitan-Atlanta P-16 Community Council, and local schools systems.
Research-Based Effective Practice. Co-Reform will be based in a recursive cycle of (a) research-based effective practice, (b) evaluation and assessment derived from the teaching and learning standards, and8) revision, followed by (a) research-based effective practice, and so forth. Teacher preparation and teaching in our schools and post-secondary institutions, including the essential component of technology, must be based in methods which can document clear effectiveness with the teachers and faculty, and students for whom they are intended. The primary driver of PEF Co-Reform is data-based effective practice rather than any particular educational or psychological theory.
Organize Schools for Success. The full success of Co-Reform will require restructuring schools for student and teacher success. Schools should be restructured with site-based management practices and with appropriately prepared leaders so that they can become genuine learning organizations for both students and teachers -- organizations that ensure learning and honor teaching -- and schools in which future teachers can be prepared. Co-Reform initiatives should also assist the state and districts to encourage and reward teacher knowledge and skill. The PEF will work with the state, districts, unions, and professional associations to make teaching a true profession with a career continuum that places teaching at the top and rewards teachers for their knowledge and skill.
Co-Reform at GSU
Co-reform will have to include changes in what and how students are taught in Georgia's school systems and in what pre- and in-service teachers learn in teacher preparation programs at post-secondary institutions. The changes in post-secondary institutions will be driven by changes needed in Georgia's school systems. These changes will be based on designing schools that are effective in helping students learn more rapidly than they would on their own, in insuring that what students learn benefits the individual and society as a whole, and in employing positive rather than coercive or punitive methods. (CDG)
An assessment of these criteria is likely to indicate that many students are not learning more rapidly with the instruction they are receiving than they would learn on their own. Possibly this is the case in some content areas and not in others, possibly, it is the case for some students and not for others. We will need to know for which content areas and for which students instruction is producing more rapid learning than would occur without instruction. Once identified, we will have to identify, through research, what types of instruction are more effective for the content areas and students not currently being well served. (ST, SWH)
Identifying needs must be accompanied by any necessary changes in teacher preparation programs to prepare teachers to implement more effective instructional strategies. To accomplish this, faculty in post-secondary institutions must be willing to look at the data about effectiveness even when those data are contrary to personal beliefs about what works in schools. In addition, as teachers are prepared to implement more effective instruction, on-going assessment must be in place to determine if the changes in teacher preparation result in changes in Georgia's schools. If they do not, or if they are not changes that result in students learning more rapidly than they would on their own, the cycle of assessment, changes in teacher preparation programs, and additional assessment back in the classroom must begin again. (ST)
Such on-going assessment, modification of teacher preparation programs, and assessment will be accomplished only if post-secondary faculty make themselves readily available to school systems on a regular basis so that a sense of commitment and trust is developed between school systems and post-secondary institutions. While such a commitment will facilitate site-based management in the school systems, the possibility of such a time commitment from post-secondary faculty will be feasible only if it is supported by their institutions. Two types of support will be needed. Faculty will need release time to be in the schools, and the research and assessment they do in the schools for the purpose of improving education in Georgia will have to be valued by the post-secondary institutions committed to co-reform. (ST)
In addition, post-secondary faculty will have to start taking responsibility for the teachers they are sending into the schools. Faculty must not be content to follow the current trends or fads in education as they prepare teachers, nor must they rely solely on their personal beliefs in particular theories. Instead, they must be guided by research on effective practices and they must introduce pre-service teachers to such practices. Much of what we teach pre-service teachers about teaching is based on the most current thinking in education that may or may not have any empirical evidence of effectiveness. Frequently it is based on theory that is well-grounded in psychology but has been misinterpreted or misapplied in its educational applications. At the very least, post-secondary faculty need to require prospective teachers to investigate for themselves the effectiveness of the different educational programs and instructional strategies available. Prospective teachers are likely to find that if the most effective teaching practices are not currently popular in the educational literature they are not taught in the teacher-preparation programs. At the same time, practices that, to date, have little or no evidence of effectiveness in the classroom, but include all the popular educational jargon and are based on the currently popular theory, are taught and faculty are rewarded for teaching them. (CDG)
In addition, students will quickly learn that much of what is being done in the name of education in our schools has no evidence of effectiveness. This may be simply because no one has done the research. Students will readily see that we make no demands on publishers to demonstrate the effectiveness of their programs. Instead, good marketing sells educational programs and when students don't learn we blame the students, their parents, or their teachers. Prospective teachers should learn to question the ethical implications of purchasing and implementing programs that have not been field tested. We frequently talk about wanting teachers to be problem solvers; one of the first problems they could learn to solve is how to identify educational programs that are likely to be effective with their students. (SWH)
If co-reform is committed to making a concerted effort to research effective practices and programs, faculty in post-secondary institutions will be expected to conduct some of this research. Currently, however, because such research is considered demonstration research and does not advance a theory it is not highly valued. This puts schools of education in a difficult position, walking a fine line between theory and practice. By profession they are concerned with the development of theory, yet they are preparing teachers to go out in the schools where practice is more important. Working on the border brings criticism from both sides. "Professors dismiss them as unscholarly and untheoretical while school people dismiss them as impractical and irrelevant." (Labaree, 1996, p. 43) The change may have to start with administrators in the post-secondary institutions and in the school systems. Administrators in the school systems will have to allow faculty access to their schools and their students to do the research with them, while administrators in the post-secondary institutions will have to value this type of research. (SWH)
While there is much that may have to change in Georgia's schools and the specifics will have to be determined through assessment, it is clear that having students meet rigorous standards in any content area and in the use of technology, will require students to be excellent readers. Reading is one content area in which co-reform may begin. It will not be the end, but it will provide an excellent beginning. In elementary school, success is defined by success in reading (Slavin et al., 1996), as "the first and foremost job of elementary school is to teach children to read" (Honig, 1996, p.1). Based on our initial criteria, we must teach children to read in a way that allows them to learn to read more rapidly than they would on their own. Left to their own devices some children will eventually learn to read, others will not. However, with effective reading instruction, all children will learn to read, and most will learn faster than they would without such instruction. (CDG, ST, SWH)
Much research in reading already exists. It needs to be disseminated to educators and educational administrators at all levels to be used as a guide for selecting reading programs. However, that will not be sufficient given that even the most effective programs will not be effective if they are not implemented properly. Proper implementation will require training and on-going technical support for teachers who will be implementing the programs. University faculty would be able to facilitate this aspect of the co-reform. In addition, they could guide action research to determine the effectiveness of the program with the population in the school in which it is being implemented. Such on-going training, technical support, and research will allow flexibility in teaching driven by research so that if a program is not effective for some students, modifications can be made before students fall so far behind that they and their teachers are overwhelmed by the prospect of meeting rigorous standards.
Much will have to change for co-reform to be effective. These changes will have to be made in post-secondary institutions and in elementary and secondary schools. In post-secondary institutions, changes will have to be made in what is taught, researched, and rewarded. In elementary and secondary schools changes will have to be made in teacher and student expectations, and educational practices. All educators committed to co-reform will have to put aside their theories and allow themselves to be lead by the data in the schools where they are working.
The positioning or research on schooling and education within such broader contexts is shaped by the conviction that education is concerned with the affective, the cultural, the moral and political as much as with the cognitive. This statement in no measure represents a dilution of academic excellence within schools, but merely a recognition that academic excellence is only made possible when excellence is also pursued in other domains, for each is inextricably intertwined. This conviction is critical to my conceptions and practices both as an early childhood teacher and currently as a teacher educator. A more narrow conceiving of education as explicated in the Association for Behavioral Analysis Task Force's report, which appears focused exclusively upon the cognitive development of children and future teachers, is one that holds limited opportunity for quality education to be a central component of everyday schooling practices. Educational research points time and again to outcomes of schooling formulated only on the basis of objective measurements of children's cognitive abilities, as failing to provide quality education for children, and in particular for those children of non-Anglo cultural/social groups (Spindler & Spindler, 1997; Osborne, 1996). The ever-increasing ethnic and cultural diversity of the public school population, both here in the United States and in the United Kingdom, thus demands that teachers and those involved in their education must conceptualize schooling practices within a broader framework. The concern for children's affective, cultural, moral and cognitive development must therefore translate into a central tenet of the debate surrounding teacher education, and thus become a capstone of efforts to reform teacher preparation in collaboration with schools. (ST, SWH)
The committee document of February 1997 on co-reform points to three major constituents that are essential to reform efforts, namely, rigorous standards, research-based effective practice, and the organization of schools for success. The inclusion of rigorous standards appears as a staple ingredient of much of the debate surrounding the desire to enhance the standing of teaching as a profession (Goodlad, 1990; Darling-Hammond, 1996), so that it may achieve a parity with the traditional professional fields of medicine and law. Indeed, Goodlad recommended a pre-education curriculum comparable to that of pre-medicine or pre-law as one possible step for Colleges of Education to strengthen the rigor of standards in teacher preparation. This could be a valuable approach or, once again, it translates into courses intended to address the multiple and interconnected domains of a child's education. If, however, it merely reproduces existing college curricula, and the almost exclusive focus upon cognitive development, the striving for increased teacher professionalism to equate to standards in medicine and law, may result in little change to the teaching and learning process in schools. The constituents of teacher education reform must be informed by professionals cognizant of excellence in all domains of child development, not least of which are instructional strategies that connect to a child's affective and moral success as much as cognitive success. It is only when professionals conscious of such excellence combine their efforts can reform influencing how children are taught be truly affected, rather than reform focused merely on the tinkering of the curricular content of children's schooling experiences. If the latter remains the focus of reform of teacher education, we will consign current and future teacher to the role of technicians, disempowered to make personal and professional decisions that result in quality education for all children. (ST)
Central to my discussion of the need for excellence in all aspects of a child's education is the prominence of a caring ethic that must characterize the beliefs, values, attitudes and practices of teachers. At first appearance the notion of caring would seem somewhat nebulous and intangible. Yet, it is the very process and product by which the fundamental aims of teaching may be realized, namely, the affective, moral and cognitive success of children. The affective and moral domain in which caring is rooted is one that is directly concerned with the relations in which teachers and students must live, must construct positively if cognitive excellence is to ensue. Rationality is a critical component of these relations, a rationality exemplified and practiced in the form of interpersonal reasoning between teacher and child. In the process of engaging in interpersonal reasoning teachers can demonstrate attitudes of solicitude and care, attention and commitment to quality learning (Noddings, 1992). It is my firm conviction that only when teacher educators and professionals in schools model an ethic of care and nurturance that connects with the humanity of each child, can learning that is demanding and challenging be achieved, learning that meets the short-term needs of a child, but also critically lays the groundwork for adult lives characterized by "responsible citizenship" (Board of Regents, University System of Georgia, 1996). Discrete by its absence in the current discourse surrounding school and teacher reform is language referring to the intellectual, character or moral development of teachers or children, edged aside to permit discussion on minimum competency, school restructuring and total quality management. Knowledge to be accrued from a discussion of these issues is not being derided, merely a questioning of the priority accorded to it. (LDF, ST)
If a committed concern for children's affective and moral well-being drives the desire to achieve excellence in their cognitive development, what research-based effective practice exists that may aid us in our quest for quality teacher and school reform? Highly successful and effective schools exist, populated by highly effective teachers and high-achieving children despite location in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and a majority of children from groups perceived to be low-achieving and disinterested in learning. An examination of such practices highlights that teachers in such successful settings perceive themselves in roles imbued with a sense of mission and purpose, a role requiring a demanding dedication, one characterized by a multiplicity of instructional strategies underpinned by the belief that love and care for a child permits quality teaching and learning (Hughes, 1995). The level of quality instruction distinguishes these highly effective teachers, showing in one recent study that children exposed to such a teacher for three years in grades 3 through 5 can result in a 52 to 54 percentile points difference in achievement as compared to children who received mediocre instruction for the same grade level period (Sanders & Rivers, 1996). In this particular longitudinal study, it was the belief systems, attitudes, commitment, sense of passion and family that were salient characteristics of such teachers. (LDF, SWH)
The implications for teacher preparation of such highly successful instances of teaching requires that field-based experiences be undertaken in sites where such effective practice is conducted. The paring of interns with master teachers who exemplify the qualities of care and nurturance and attain levels of excellence with their students becomes imperative, rather than exposing future teachers to classrooms in which ineffective practice is exemplified, and placements in systems that are failing the population they serve. If this results in more limited field-based opportunities, it is my belief that we will simply be replacing quantity with quality, a notion which occupies a central and critical position in each of the three reports that have served as a basis for discourse on co-reform. In placing interns with exemplary teachers, this high quality of teaching must also be demonstrated by exemplary professors who are able to articulate the parameters of successful teaching, have opportunities to practice such teaching in public schools, and are appropriately rewarded by the university for such practices. This involves a major shift, if not revolution, in current university practices, requiring "professors and teachers to examine their individual cultures to foster the best possible working relationships A(Co-reform, Georgia State University, 1997). The necessity of such a revolution is a compelling one if a beneficial research-based effective practice cycle is to be established and developed.
The re-organization and re-structuring of schools underscore one further critical component of the co-reform process, and one without which quality teacher education and preparation will remain incomplete. Once again, research recently conducted on effective schools serving children from low SES backgrounds in West Virginia points to the existence of leaders both instructional and administrative, who have been instrumental with their faculties in constructing environments in which the teaching and learning process is accorded the highest priority, leaders committed to their faculty and students, committed to excellence in children's affective, moral and cognitive development. One possible model that may aid such a process can be witnessed in the strident efforts made in British schools to permit principals and their faculties to have almost complete governance over the operations of their schools so that resources may be allocated on the basis of needs identified by a particular principal and his or her faculty. Such site-based management practices have proven reasonably successful in the United Kingdom, but their success may be due to one critical element that distinguishes school organization in the United States and that of the United Kingdom. In the latter setting there is little if any distinction made between teaching and administration in the structuring of schools, with many, of not all, administrative leaders coming from the ranks of leader teachers, whose education and preparation have primarily been focused upon achieving excellence in instruction. Once in a position of administration, one wonders the extent to which the structuring and organization of the school is centered upon facilitating excellence in such instruction, is centered upon enhancing the teaching and earning process, two variables cited by much of the research as those which distinguish successful and UN-successful schools. Can teacher education colleges be part of the process which seeks to reform the artificial and yet highly divisive distinction between administration and teaching that has evolved in the United States? One wonders the extent to which current priorities may change if excellence in instruction were the driving force in the structuring and organization of schools. (SWH)
In seeking to reform one is seeking to change something to a better state, to refine and enhance its value, to pursue quality. Such should be the goal of teacher and school collaborative efforts in their focus upon improving the educational experiences of children in schools. That such an improvement should result in children acquiring the cognitive and academic skills to make them productive citizens in the 21st century is without conjecture. That the path to such success lies in empowering teachers and schools to meet the affective, moral, cultural and political needs of children is becoming less open to conjecture in the face of repeated failed efforts at reform focused only on the cognitive and academic. This repeated failure compels us to examine new paths with the help of both research and practice.
The Impact of Instructional Technology on Co-reform
Perhaps because of its roots in general systems theory, the discipline of instructional technology must first be concerned with defining the system under consideration. An educational system is a complex thing. It is comprised of numerous components. One definition of a system is that it is a "set of organized components all working together toward a common goal." When a change is made in any one component of the system, it can, and often does, affect all components of the system. Therefore, when seeking to improve or revise a system, it is necessary to consider the impact of a particular innovation or intervention on every aspect of the system.
A lack of this consideration has consistently plagued other co-reform efforts with respect to technology. School systems invest large amounts of money and time into technology, only to leave it languish un- or under- utilized. In many schools, in many parts of the United States, one can find brand new computers sitting in boxes or in closets gathering dust. Typically, this lack of use can be traced to poor coordination among system components. For example, the decision to purchase computers is made and carried out at an administrative level, but no training or professional development is provided for the teachers who are expected to use the computers in their classrooms. Or, perhaps computers are purchased, and teachers are trained, but realistic expectations are not set. A classroom that has 30 students with only one computer does not permit much time for each student to use the computer.
In order to insure success for a technology intervention in a co-reform effort, the various components of the system must be clearly delineated and coordinated. Therefore, the first role of technology in any co-reform effort should be to define the system that is to be reformed and describe the relationships between the components of the system. Harmon and Hirumi (1996) provide a model for an instructional system.
At the four corners of the model are the stakeholders in the system. Each of these agencies or groups has a vested interest in the outcome of the educational system. That outcome is delineated in the center of the model. The ultimate goal of any educational system must be student learning. What is to be learned may be open to debate by the stakeholders in the system, but there should be little question that learning is the primary concern. (CDG, ST)
The first component in this model is strategic alignment. In this component the stakeholders of the system must reach consensus on the definitions of the mission, goals, and objectives of the system. The second component of the model is research and development. The goal of this component is to acquire and disseminate new knowledge and to ensure that this knowledge is distributed across all of the other components of the system. The third component of the model is management operations. The primary function of this component is to define policy and allocate resources to carry out this policy. The logistics component of the system is responsible for determining and maintaining the mechanisms required to kilt the policies defined in the Management component. The Professional Development component of the system is responsible for continuously improving the skills, knowledge and abilities of participants in the system. The program evaluation component is responsible for getting feedback to system stakeholders about the overall effectiveness of the system. It also provides feedback to the other components of the system so that they might improve their efforts. (CDG, ST)
The three remaining components of the system, curriculum, instruction, and assessment, are those most frequently considered as solely comprising an educational system. The curriculum components defines the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and abilities that students should have upon completing the system. The instruction component is concerned with collecting data on student performance and using that data to inform subsequent iterations of instruction.
Co-reform efforts should consider every aspect of the system. Colleges of education should seek not only to prepare pre-service teachers, but also in-service teachers as well as pre- and in-service administrators. In the same way the ISO 9000 certification requires that all suppliers to an ISO 9000 manufacturing company be ISO 9000 certified, so too should be supplier of an educational system meet and model the same effective practices that it intends the system to exhibit. That is, if it is the desire of colleges of Education that P-12 schools use innovative and effective educational practices, then it is necessary that the faculty, staff, and administration of the colleges of Education also use and model these same practices. (CDG)
Where the soft side of instructional technology can begin to inform stakeholders about the components and relationships of an educational system, the "Hard" side of instructional technology can be used to enhance the ability of each component of the system. For example, one thing that technology does well is enhance communication. Communication among the various components of the system is essential for effective functioning of the system. Group decision-making technologies can be used to guide the stakeholders in strategic alignments. Various networked computer technologies (i.e., e-mail, and the world wide web) can be used to help communicate the information generated in a component to all of the other components. Spreadsheet and database technologies can assist n management operations, and logistics. Data analysis programs can assist in assessment and program evaluation. Various technology based training (TBT) systems (i.e., multimedia, hypermedia, simulation, etc.) can assist in instruction and professional development.
But technology can also have a formative roll on the system itself. Widespread use of advanced technologies continues to ameliorate the effects of geographic distance. McLuan's "global village" is becoming more of a reality every day. Cultures which previously had little interaction are today only a mouse click away from each other. More than any previous generation, students in today's classrooms will be citizens of the world. This increasing transcultural interaction has implications for our educational systems at every level, the most important of which is that of stakeholders. While national boundaries will remain important for the foreseeable future, it is also clear that the increasing internationalism of the corporate world will require employees who are comfortable and knowledgeable in a variety of cultures. Thus, as technology continues to shape society, the educational system must also be re-shaped. (CDG, ST)
On a more local level, advances in technologies for instruction and in sciences of the mind, open the door to exciting and innovative possibilities for teaching and learning that have not existed before. Open-ended learning environments (OELE) and virtual realities are two of the new types of learning modalities that are made possible by advances in technology. As these technologies continue to mature, it will become necessary to re-think the definition of a school. Already, universities in the United States are having to respond to a growing phenomenon of classrooms without walls. That is, students are now able to take part in University classes without constraints of geography. Universities on the west coast of the United States are advertising their courses 5000 miles away on the east coast of the United States. The concept of a school as a place is rapidly becoming outdated.
It is important to note that technology, in whatever form, is and should be a means to an end, and not and end in itself. Too often educators become enamored of technology and seek to promote the use of advanced technology for their own sake. This is a constant danger when trying to infuse any technology into an educational system. The statement "I need ..." is often used as a disguise for the statement "I want ..." To complicate the matter, technology vendors constantly promote their products and seek to get schools and school systems to purchase them. This promotion frequently takes the form of "school district X has purchased this product, therefore your district needs to purchase this product so as not to be left behind." When technology is infused in a system under these conditions, the outcome is likely to be an increasing level of frustration with the lack of results from the use of the technology. This frustration is quickly followed by remorse at the time and money wasted on ill-advised purchasing decisions. (ST)
In summary, technology can have several types of impact on an educational system. "Soft" instructional technology can aid in defining the system. Both "hard" and "soft" instructional technologies can assist the various components of the system in completing their tasks. Technology is changing society and therefore should instigate corresponding changes in our educational systems. Advances in instructional technology can improve existing or create new modalities of teaching and learning that could change the way an educational system works. Technology enables a new and exciting level of interaction internationally and can therefore facilitate a globalization of the curriculum. In short, instructional technology is the glue that holds the various components of co-reform together. (LDF)
I offer my partial thoughts about the conversations and practices I think are vital for the success and integrity of meaningful teaching and learning, the creation of school practices that understand standards equitably and multiply, and reform that might truly allow for institutionalized practices of teaching and learning to be formed anew. Because many of our current efforts are based in the reform of teacher education and the profession of teaching, my comments focus on the place of teaching, teachers, and teacher education as they are intertwined with educational standards for students. Central to my discussion is a hope that standards of all sorts may be understood in ways that are open. By open, I mean that reform at all levels must encourage teachers, students, parents, and communities to define the purposes and processes of teaching and learning collaboratively; reform must include and value those teacher knowledges and skills and student learning outcomes that are not easily defined, measured, or operationalized; and reform must embrace an understanding of schooling in which the purposes and outcomes of education can not always be known in advance but may emerge from its enactment. Standards as an element of reform should not assume standardization of teaching and learning but should serve as a point of departure for multiple educational practices that will be as idiosyncratic as their contexts and the humans that comprise those contexts.
The openness I envision is, as Ted Aoki (1993) has described, one of persistent tensionality between the seemingly necessary singularity of the curriculum-as-plan and the actual multiplicity of the curriculum-as-lived. Presently, he says, "for many of us, curriculum, in spite of its inherent indefiniteness, has become definitive, so much so that we speak with ease of the curriculum, the curriculum-as-plan" (p. 259). To understand curriculum as multiple rather than singular, open rather than closed, concretely experienced rather than abstractly learned, enacted in multiple forms rather than implemented predictably, is to embrace the mutability of the planned as it is recreated in the vicissitudes of persons' intersubjective lives in classrooms, schools, and communities. Reform that anticipates, even celebrates and fosters, openness to the inevitable specificity and change of the planned as it is lived is reform that may indeed encourage the reshaping of educational endeavors. What conditions may allow such a reshaping?
One of the promising elements of our reform efforts lies in the renewed impetus for systemic reform that includes not only curricular change but also the reorganization of schools and practices of teacher education. My hope is that these changes might combine to create conditions in which teachers actively grapple with the complexities of educational purposes, deliberate curricular goals and processes, and inquire into the meanings of "rigorous standards" and "effective practices" in ways that are appropriate to their contexts and that understand curriculum as multiple. Effective practice would require the reorganization of teachers' education and teachers' work to allow them to cultivate, through inquiry into the general and into their specific settings, both knowledges that can be articulated and tacit knowledges that are often ineffable. In this sense, I seek to expand standards that describe the "attributes of effective teachers," which have been described thus: (SWH)
Such standards are primarily based in codified forms of teacher knowledge such as subject matter expertise, understanding developmental and learning theories, and procedural pedagogical knowledge (see Shulman, 1986, 1987), knowledges whose value I do not wish to dispute. Each is, in fact, essential for designing classes, assessing students' progress, and determining "what needs to be done next to move them along." However, these categories of standards implicitly relegate teachers to roles of implementing curricula comprised of linear sequences of content and skills that have been designed by others. They elide teachers' practical wisdom (Lee, 1993) and their understandings of the purposes of schooling and the ways knowledge may be of worth to students. Teachers should participate not only in choosing what needs to be "done next" but in vital discussions of what it means for students to be "moved along." What are the purposes and directions of such movement? (CDG)
By necessity, the trilogy of knowing one's students, content area, and effective teaching methods relies on the codified and codifiable stuff of teaching despite the fact that teaching and learning are not activities that are easily codified. Rather, as Deborah Britzman (1995) has eloquently argued, "teaching means being intellectually and emotionally open to that which one cannot foresee, predict, or control. In other words, teaching means acknowledging and working with all of the uncertainties that are the sum of our lived lives" (p. 74). Teaching and learning are complex, messy processes characterized by serendipity, wonder, pleasure, vulnerability, pain, and change. It is to wisdom and uncertainty that those concerned with educational reform must turn. (CDG)
As colleges of education work with teachers, they must engage them locally in wondering what knowledge is of most worth, why, and for whom, and in dwelling in the tensionality between the curriculum-as-plan and the curriculum-as-lived. Catharine Stimpson (1991) has written of the idea of curriculum in ways that invite consideration of the complexities of educational endeavors and purposes: (SWH)
What are the structures educators wish to create? What kinds of dialogue might we make possible? Might we foreclose? What, as we engage young people with their inheritances, do we hope for them to do with those inheritances?
For colleges of education to rethink their programs of teacher education calls for imagining what might be gained by inviting teachers to articulate and refine their beliefs about education. Rather than concentrating teachers' attention abstractly on effective methods of teaching that conform to learning theory, the codified knowledges of their subject areas, or their ability to formulate instructional objectives and lesson plans based on their understandings of students' needs in relation to pre-formulated standards, teacher education should encourage teachers to imagine, in the broadest sense possible, what they would like their students to do, be, and, in turn, imagine. Teachers might ask such questions as those offered by William Ayers (1995): "What are the core values of our community? What knowledge and experiences are most important for our children? What kind of person do we hope will graduate from our school? What human qualities and habits of mind are embodied in our work here?" (p. 123). Shared dialogue and inquiry into such questions by teachers who are prepared for inquiry and its implications offers a place for the wisdom of teachers in educational reform. Through hesitant worryings over educational purposes and possibilities, teachers can engage the structures, the dialogue, and their own inheritance as teachers and members of communities to work with students in ways that are open to the creation of new structures, dialogues, and inheritances. (CDG, SWH)
Teachers engaged in such questioning may begin to ask if standards for students' learning must be singular, or if it makes sense to speak of multiple standards that acknowledge the multiple values of our society. In a reform effort in which standards are intended to offer educational equity to all students, must equity mean "same" (see Scott, 1988)? Or could equity be predicated on, and cultivate, different talents, abilities, skills, and knowledges? These are questions of value and values that emerge in standards-based reform and that teachers must engage. A standard, Elliot Eisner (1993) has remarked, "is a vehicle for describing, rather than appraising, a set of qualities" (p. 22). Standards offer educators means of gauging amount and measuring progress but do not offer ways to evaluate "goodness," or criteria for determining what is of value. He says, "the application of criteria requires the exercise of judgment, the ability to provide reasons for the judgments we make" (p. 23). Within and against the common learning that children in the United States share, criteria for defining the uses to which standards will be put and how successful student learning may be judged will form a part of teachers' abilities to value, evaluate, and cultivate the idiosyncratic.
One meaning of the word reform is "to change to a better state, form" (Webster's College Dictionary, 1991, p. 1132). The questions confronting our reform efforts pertain to the conditions that might change the form of teaching and learning by making it more meaningful, pleasurable, and intrinsically rewarding. Curricular change, the reorganization of schools through site-based management that enables teachers to gain a "conception of what the curriculum means as a whole" (Kliebard 1986 or 88, p. 23), and practices of teacher education that encourage teachers to take part in inquiry into the conflicting goals of education may make possible the creation of educational change by participants who have a purpose. As teachers engage in meaningful collaboration and continue to learn in ways of their choosing, they may form critical communities of inquiry who enact educational practices in a reform that is open to the multiplicity of specific social and institutional contexts. (LDF)
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Britzman, Deborah. (1995). Teachers under suspicion: Is it true that teachers aren't as good as they used to be? In Joe Kincheloe & Shirley Steinberg (Eds.), Thirteen questions: Reframing education's conversation (2nd ed.). New York: Peter Lang.
Hughes, M.F. (1995). Achieving despite adversity: Why are some schools successful in spite of the obstacles they face? A study of the characteristics of effective and less effective elementary schools in West Virginia using qualitative and quantitative methods. Charleston, WV: West Virginia Education Fund.
Kliebard, Herbert M. (1986 or 1988). Fads, fashions, and rituals: The instability of curriculum change. In Laurel M. Tanner (Ed.), Critical issues in curriculum (pp. 16-34; 87th Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, part 1). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shulman, Lee. (1986). Paradigms and research programs in the study of teaching: A contemporary perspective. In M.C. Wittrock (Ed.) Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed., pp. 3-36). New York: Macmillan.
Stimpson, Catharine. (1991). Foreword. In Berman, Louise M., Hultgren, Francine H., Lee, Diane, Rivkin, Mary S., & Roderick, Jessie A. Toward curriculum for being: Voices of educators (pp. vii-ix). Albany: SUNY Press.