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K Pyhältö 120907 A Systemic Approach to School Reforms – Reflections on practise and theory in developing comprehensive school Dr, Kirsi Pyhältö Centre.

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Presentation on theme: "K Pyhältö 120907 A Systemic Approach to School Reforms – Reflections on practise and theory in developing comprehensive school Dr, Kirsi Pyhältö Centre."— Presentation transcript:

1 K Pyhältö 120907 A Systemic Approach to School Reforms – Reflections on practise and theory in developing comprehensive school Dr, Kirsi Pyhältö Centre of Educational Psychology, Helsinki University

2 K Pyhältö 120907 Towards high quality learning and education Education and active learning skills are acknowledged as the very core of scenarios for the future of Europe. They are expected to provide the most important tools for active change management and achieving organisational and individual goals. The base for the art of self-regulated learning is created in comprehensive schools. This goal has given rise to several educational reforms in many European countries, Finland included.

3 K Pyhältö 120907 Problematic school reforms As main executors of the school reforms, primary- and secondary school teachers are expected to cope with and combine the various demands and implement the new ideas in their daily work. As main executors of the school reforms, primary- and secondary school teachers are expected to cope with and combine the various demands and implement the new ideas in their daily work. However research on school reforms has shown that output of the reforms has rarely met the high expectations. However research on school reforms has shown that output of the reforms has rarely met the high expectations. There seems to be, at the same time, a gap between the sophisticated theories of learning and everyday instructional practices of teacher and schools.

4 K Pyhältö 120907 Why school reforms tend to fail? Three complementary arguments Reforms are rarely executed adequately as active, multi-dimensional, collaborative and situated learning processes. Reforms are rarely executed adequately as active, multi-dimensional, collaborative and situated learning processes. Reforms tend to focus on parts while disregarding the way the whole structure hangs together. Reforms tend to focus on parts while disregarding the way the whole structure hangs together. Applications and designs based on novel theories of learning and instruction are almost solely left on teachers concern. Applications and designs based on novel theories of learning and instruction are almost solely left on teachers concern.

5 K Pyhältö 120907 Active learning both as a mean and as a goal Research based knowledge of the characteristics of powerful learning environments should be taken as a consistent guideline in implementing the reforms. Research based knowledge of the characteristics of powerful learning environments should be taken as a consistent guideline in implementing the reforms. Investing in the school as a learning environment for teachers as well as other members of school community. Investing in the school as a learning environment for teachers as well as other members of school community. Members of school community, especially teachers as active agents in the reforms. Members of school community, especially teachers as active agents in the reforms. Requires conceptual change and new learning. Requires conceptual change and new learning.

6 K Pyhältö 120907 Systemic approach Dealing with complex entities and orchestration of elements. Dealing with complex entities and orchestration of elements. Creating capacity for change requires systematic effort on several fronts simultaneously. Creating capacity for change requires systematic effort on several fronts simultaneously. Interactive bottom-up and top-down models of reform implementation. Interactive bottom-up and top-down models of reform implementation. Collaboration and new learning in all levels of schooling system. Collaboration and new learning in all levels of schooling system. Also school development research ought to focus more and more on studying educational phenomena as a complex of correlated events, processes, strategies, interactions and qualities. Also school development research ought to focus more and more on studying educational phenomena as a complex of correlated events, processes, strategies, interactions and qualities.

7 K Pyhältö 120907 Third mission of educational research Two core function of educational research: explaining and guiding should be complemented by a third: designing. Two core function of educational research: explaining and guiding should be complemented by a third: designing. Better comprehension of a complex learning environment can be attained when one is designing the environment with emphasis on particular ingredients suggested by some theory. Better comprehension of a complex learning environment can be attained when one is designing the environment with emphasis on particular ingredients suggested by some theory. Collaborative partnership between educational researchers and practitioners. Collaborative partnership between educational researchers and practitioners. Research findings on learning and instruction Research findings on learning and instruction can be exploited for the benefit of the educational system directly, which is great advantage in rapidly changing information society. can be exploited for the benefit of the educational system directly, which is great advantage in rapidly changing information society.

8 K Pyhältö 120907 Design research approach as a tool for overcoming the practise theory gap? Design research is an emerging methodological approach. Design research is an emerging methodological approach. It focuses both on fostering learning, creating usable knowledge, and advancing theories of learning and teaching, in complex real world settings. It focuses both on fostering learning, creating usable knowledge, and advancing theories of learning and teaching, in complex real world settings. Design research takes place through engineering particular learning forms based on novel theories on learning and instruction. Design research takes place through engineering particular learning forms based on novel theories on learning and instruction.

9 K Pyhältö 120907 Interplay between educational theories and educational research in general Fig 1: Looking at Technology in Context: Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1996 In Vitro Laboratory In Vivo Individual Classes and Schools Connected Classes, Schools Communities Transmission Models 123 Constructivist Models: Part of School Day 456 Constructivist Models: all of schooling 789

10 K Pyhältö 120907 Characteristics of design research approach Methodologically, a design research approach drives at designing and exploring whole range of design innovations that embody specific theoretical claims. Methodologically, a design research approach drives at designing and exploring whole range of design innovations that embody specific theoretical claims. Depending on the emphasis of the study, design approach has been characterised as process oriented, theory driven, and interventionist, co-operative and iterative as well as systemic. Depending on the emphasis of the study, design approach has been characterised as process oriented, theory driven, and interventionist, co-operative and iterative as well as systemic.

11 K Pyhältö 120907 1/2 Design research process Design research process development, understanding and research takes place through continuous cycles of design, questions, and enactment, analyse and redesign. Design research process development, understanding and research takes place through continuous cycles of design, questions, and enactment, analyse and redesign. Identifying the starting point of the experiment. Identifying the starting point of the experiment. Construction of design hypotheses in the context. Construction of design hypotheses in the context. Preparing a good reciprocal interaction between educational researchers and practitioners. Preparing a good reciprocal interaction between educational researchers and practitioners.

12 K Pyhältö 120907 2/2 Design research process The embodied hypotheses are implemented in collaboration with educational practitioners, and they constitute multilevel interventions. The embodied hypotheses are implemented in collaboration with educational practitioners, and they constitute multilevel interventions. The designed interventions are followed by multilevel analysis of learning activities as well as learning outcomes. The designed interventions are followed by multilevel analysis of learning activities as well as learning outcomes. The revision of the hypotheses and designs as a starting point for second cycle of interventions. The revision of the hypotheses and designs as a starting point for second cycle of interventions. Design process constitute both prospective and reflective undertakings that are entwined in iterative process. Design process constitute both prospective and reflective undertakings that are entwined in iterative process.

13 K Pyhältö 120907 Recent school reforms in Finland In Finland three major pedagogical comprehensive school reforms have been launched since 1990s: In Finland three major pedagogical comprehensive school reforms have been launched since 1990s: Current school legislation and regulations emphasise that everyday school practices should be based on constructivist theories of learning. Current school legislation and regulations emphasise that everyday school practices should be based on constructivist theories of learning. Decentralisation of school administration. Decentralisation of school administration. Implementation of undivided basic education. Implementation of undivided basic education.

14 K Pyhältö 120907 Context of the study: Implementation of UBE The context of the study is the most recent of the pedagogical school reforms in Finland, the undivided basic education (abbreviation: UBE). The context of the study is the most recent of the pedagogical school reforms in Finland, the undivided basic education (abbreviation: UBE). The UBE concerns developing inner coherence of schools by showing curricular consistency from pre-school to ninth grade. The UBE concerns developing inner coherence of schools by showing curricular consistency from pre-school to ninth grade. The aim of this reform is to support pupils in their learning path through various transitions during their school career. The aim of this reform is to support pupils in their learning path through various transitions during their school career.

15 K Pyhältö 120907 An example about design research study It has been carried out since 2005 in collaboration with Helsinki, Tampere and Joensuu Universities. The general theoretical basis of the study was socio-constructivist view of learning. Altogether 87 communes and 240 schools around Finland participated to the research project. The project has a twofold aim: it intends to analyse preconditions and processes that enable schools to develop a culture of learning in which collaboration and active self-regulative learning are emphasised and to contribute to the development of undivided basic education.

16 K Pyhältö 120907 The first phase: the pre-study The pre-study included data collection in four levels of the schooling system: administration, principals, teachers and pupils (9th graders). The pre-study included data collection in four levels of the schooling system: administration, principals, teachers and pupils (9th graders). During the first cycle, the data was collected using various methods, such as inquiries, interviews, reflective discussion and activating procedures. During the first cycle, the data was collected using various methods, such as inquiries, interviews, reflective discussion and activating procedures.

17 K Pyhältö 120907 Data collected in the first cycle Phase 1 (October – December 2005 OPEN-ENDED SURVEYS FOR HEADS OF SCHOOL DISTRICT (n= 87, 55% answered) AND SCHOOL PRINCIPALS (n=240, 60% answered Phase 2 (January – February 2006): SELECTION OF NINE (9) CASE SCHOOLS on the basis of the school principals reflections. Criteria for case schools selection: variation of the school type, -size, -location and the and phase in their UBE development work Phase 3 (February – March 2006): RECALLING OF THE FUTURE (RoF) (n= 189 teachers) and OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS for the ninth graders (n= 518 pupils) in case schools Phase 4 (March 2006) SELECTION OF THE TEACHERS FROM EACH CASE SCHOOL on the basis of the RoF data. Phase 5 (March – May 2006): THEME INTERVIEWS FOR THE SELECTED TEACHERS IN EACH CASE SCHOOL (n= 70 teachers)

18 K Pyhältö 120907 Identifying gaps and problems The data from the first cycle suggested that main problems in implementing UBE within the school level:, in the schools and between schools, were the following: Teachers as well as headmasters perceptions about the developmental goal of UBE were unclear, fragmented and one-sided. Teachers as well as headmasters perceptions about the developmental goal of UBE were unclear, fragmented and one-sided. Teachers often showed lack of active agency in the developing school community. Teachers often showed lack of active agency in the developing school community. Lack of collaboration existed within the professional community in the school as well as between the schools that constituted the whole of basic studies. Lack of collaboration existed within the professional community in the school as well as between the schools that constituted the whole of basic studies. There was a lack of active agency on behalf of pupils within school and classroom practices and tensions between pupils and teachers. There was a lack of active agency on behalf of pupils within school and classroom practices and tensions between pupils and teachers.

19 K Pyhältö 120907 Design hypothesis Teachers and headmasters need to attain holistic understanding about first principles of UBE and its theoretical base. Teachers and headmasters need to attain holistic understanding about first principles of UBE and its theoretical base. Teachers need to attain active agency in developing school community. Teachers need to attain active agency in developing school community. Collaborative professional culture needs to be established both in the schools and between them to be able to promote a coherent learning path and support pupils through out comprehensive school. Collaborative professional culture needs to be established both in the schools and between them to be able to promote a coherent learning path and support pupils through out comprehensive school. Activating and collaborative learning environment for pupils need to be attained to be able to promote UBE. Activating and collaborative learning environment for pupils need to be attained to be able to promote UBE.

20 K Pyhältö 120907 The first cycle of interventions: Three complementary aspects of designs The first cycle focused on teachers and teachers communities at three complementary levels: individual level professional development, teacher community level and between teachers communities. The first cycle focused on teachers and teachers communities at three complementary levels: individual level professional development, teacher community level and between teachers communities. This cycle included three related components: This cycle included three related components: (a) Facilitating collaborative professional culture. (b) Enhancing teachers perceptions about the object of activity (first principles of UBE) and facilitating conceptual change. (c) Supporting teachers active agency in developing the school overall, outside the classrooms.

21 K Pyhältö 120907 a) Facilitating collaborative professional culture Scaffolding was provided for opportunities for collaborative discussions and construction of understanding of the UBE in mixed teacher groups. Collective cognitive responsibility was promoted by supporting construction of common meta-goals for developing school community in line with first principles of UBE in mixed groups. Teachers were helped to explicate the intellectual resources available within the teacher community.

22 K Pyhältö 120907 b) Object of activity and facilitating conceptual change Eliciting and helping outline teachers prior and current understanding about the UBE explicitly. Facilitating revision current understanding of UBE by eliciting new information about the reform and problems caused by the lack of coherence within the school path. Helping teachers to identify problems and resources in promoting, simultaneously, horizontal and vertical coherence in the school.

23 K Pyhältö 120907 c) Supporting teachers active agency Stimulating teachers to articulate and reflect on their strategies and ideas, conceptions, beliefs and feelings developing their work and school together in the terms of UBE. Promoting teachers reconsideration of their professional role in the developing school community; e.g., by reflecting on their schooling practices from different perspectives and standpoints. Organising forums in which teachers were encouraged to set forth their ideas about the developmental goal of UBE and their own role in the process.

24 K Pyhältö 120907 Design research – some pitfalls Studying complex interactive systems and thus sustaining interventions in a messy settings gives rise to high demands on coordinating and conducting multiple levels of data collection and analysis systematically. Studying complex interactive systems and thus sustaining interventions in a messy settings gives rise to high demands on coordinating and conducting multiple levels of data collection and analysis systematically. Promoting two-folded aim: theory building and advancement of practise simultaneously. Promoting two-folded aim: theory building and advancement of practise simultaneously. Generalizability and limits of effects e.g. multiple cases, pre-test post-test arrangements, iteration, a variety of data sources and several kinds of methods as well as using and creating of measures or instruments. Generalizability and limits of effects e.g. multiple cases, pre-test post-test arrangements, iteration, a variety of data sources and several kinds of methods as well as using and creating of measures or instruments.

25 K Pyhältö 120907 Design research approach - Potentials Design research provides a productive perspective for developing theory. Design research provides a productive perspective for developing theory. At its heart, education is about designing and hence design research produces useful results. At its heart, education is about designing and hence design research produces useful results. Engaging in design research directly involves researchers in the improvement of education and teachers in research. Engaging in design research directly involves researchers in the improvement of education and teachers in research.

26 K Pyhältö 120907 Thank You for your attention!


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