This is the third blog of a 10 part series.
Marilyn Ferguson stated, “Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be unlocked from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another either by argument or emotional appeal.” This same principal applies to organizations. External mandates, perspectives, and “canned” plans intended to reform schools are, at very best, short-lived. Schools and the adults in them are the only ones who can truly make sustainable change happen.
The third Institute for Excellence in Education (IEE) belief is that all deep sustainable school improvement and change must take place from the inside out.
Managing complex change in schools is an ongoing and challenging task that requires deep planning and continual reflection. Complex or second-order change demands a clear, shared vision, along with resources sufficient to support its implementation, incentives to ensure ownership throughout the organization, skills so that the desired change can be accomplished and an action plan to focus and direct the initiative.
Perhaps most importantly however, whatever change that is deemed necessary or desirable, must be identified internally. While it is often extremely valuable to look to other schools, external experts, and research studies to inform school improvement, ultimately change itself must be driven by and carried out inside the school. The adults in the school must own the change that they seek. Change is hard work and most individuals and groups won’t follow through on change that is externally focused.
What might be some of the changes that your school is considering? What possibilities exist internally to support this desired change?