Weaving the texture of school change
- 571 Downloads
The five papers of this special issue all present detailed analyses of change efforts in specific educational settings. Their shared strength is in their detailed ethnographic and discourse-analytic examinations of local dynamics of change, innovation, and resistance. They all draw on the theoretical framework and vocabulary of cultural–historical activity theory.
In this commentary, I will discuss four themes taken up or provoked by the five papers: the multiple mechanisms of school change; why change fails; the relationship between local and systemwide change; and the potential of activity theory as a resource for studies of school change.
Multiple mechanisms of change
School change is too often understood as a singular process, and researchers too often seek to uncover an assumed singular explanation for school change. The papers of this issue demonstrate that there are multiple mechanisms in school change and researchers might do well to consider them as complementary.
KeywordsActivity Theory Organizational Learning Change Effort Transitional Action Metacognitive Monitoring
- Bateson, G. (1972). Steps to an ecology of mind. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
- Eisenhardt, K. M. (2000). Paradox, spirals, ambivalence: The new language of change and pluralism. Academy of Management Review, 25, 703–706.Google Scholar
- Engeström, Y. (1996). Developmental work research as educational research: Looking ten years back and into the zone of proximal development. Nordisk Pedagogik: Journal of Nordic Educational Research, 16, 131–143.Google Scholar
- Engeström, Y. (1998). Reorganizing the motivational sphere of classroom culture: An activity-theoretical analysis of planning in a teacher team. In F. Seeger, J. Voigt, & U. Waschescio (Eds.), The culture of the mathematics classroom: Analyses and changes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Engeström, Y. (2007). Putting Vygotsky to work: The change laboratory as an application of double stimulation. In H. Daniels, M. Cole, & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Engeström, Y., Engeström, R., & Suntio, A. (2002). Can a school community learn to master its own future? An activity-theoretical study of expansive learning among middle school teachers. In G. Wells & G. Claxton (Eds.), Learning for life in the 21st century: Sociocultural perspectives on the future of education. London: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Haavisto, V. (2002). Court work in transition: An activity-theoretical study of changing work practices in a Finnish district court. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press.Google Scholar
- Hubbard, L., Mehan, H., & Stein, M. K. (2006). Reform as learning: School reform, organizational culture, and community politics in San Diego. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar