creating people centred schools: section four. changing schools

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Ideas on understanding change are taken forward into approaches to leading and managing change. School-as-organization approaches are compared with the school-as-community approach.


  • 1. CreatingPeople-centredSchoolsSchool Organization and Changein South AfricaWriters | Themba Ndhlovu, Carol Bertram,Nonhlanhla Mthiyane and Neil AveryEditor | John Gultig, Dawn ButlerThe SAIDE Teacher Education Series

2. CreatingPeople-centred SchoolsSchool Organizationand Change in South Africa Learning Guide Themba NdhlovuCarol BertramNonhlanhla MthiyaneNeil Avery Series EditorJohn GultigDawn Butler 3. Creating People-Centred SchoolsISBN 978-0-9869837-1-9 2010 SAIDE This work, a digital version of the SAIDE/Oxford publication of 2002, is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence.1ST EDITION EDITOR: John Gultig, Dawn Butler1ST EDITION VIDEOTAPE: Kagiso Educational Television, with Themba Ndhlovu and John Gultig1ST EDITION AUDIOTAPE: Ulwazi Educational Radio, with John Gultig and Mike AdendorffDESIGN FOR DIGITAL VERSION: Michelle RandellILLUSTRATIONS: Carol SiewekeSAIDEPO Box 31822Braamfontein 2017T: (011) 403 2813F: (011) 403; www.oerafrica.orgThe first edition was funded by the WK Kellogg foundation. This digitalversion has been funded through the International Association ofDigital Publications. 4. Section FourChanging schools4.1 Understanding change: first ideas ............................................... 954.2The complexity of change processes .......................................... 994.3 Approaching change systemically ............................................ 1074.4 Coping with the fears evoked by change . .............................. 1134.5 Leading and managing change ................................................. 1164.6Changing schools: the school-as-organization approach ............................................................................................ 1184.7Changing schools: the school-as-community approach ............................................................................................ 1294.8 Final tutor-marked assignment .................................................. 134 5. 95Understanding change:first ideas4.1IntroductionIn Section Two we looked at ways in which South African schools have been organ-ized until now. We found that, traditionally, South African schools were hierarchi-cally structured organizations in which key decisions were taken by people at the 13top and communicated down to ordinary teachers. There was a high level of workspecialization and little collaboration, and there was little or no communicationbetween peers. In Section Three we found that changing global and local contexts, as well as newgovernment policies, suggested that South African schools would have to change.The new vision of schools is characterized by less hierarchical structures, moreparticipative decision-making, more flexible job functions, a great deal more team-work, and a commitment to ongoing personal and organizational development.Our analysis of school organization research revealed that there is a great deal ofcommonality in what different researchers regard as effective or good schools. Wealso noticed that there are many similarities between the characteristics goodschools are regarded to possess, and those seen as important in new South Africaneducation policy. Finally, we explored the concept of a learning organization apopular form of this new organizational vision which is used within both educationand business. This information has given us a fair idea of what our school could or should be like.But we still have only a hazy notion of how we can go about changing our presentorganizations. In this final section of the module, we will explore the concept ofchange. We will begin our investigation into how change occurs by reading a casestudy of an enterprising school principal who has to implement Curriculum 2005 inher primary school.Case study: Advanced Primary SchoolMs Zondi has been the principal of Advanced Primary School for many yearsnow. Most teachers respect her because she is well-organized, but some havecriticized her for wanting to do everything herself. Although she has learnt aboutthe importance of delegation in the management courses she has attended, shestill finds it difficult to entrust teachers with responsibility because she feels theywont do things right.At a principals meeting, Ms Zondi heard about the launch of Curriculum 2005.Being organized, she immediately invited a departmental official to visit herschool and speak to her 18 teachers about the new curriculum. Ms Zondi told herteachers that they had to attend the meeting scheduled for the following Tuesday because it would give them important information about how they would haveto change their classrooms. Most of the teachers were pleased that teachingwould finish early, but were rather nervous about the meeting: it wasnt usual tohave an outside person addressing them in their school, and they were also notused to discussing their own teaching with other teachers.However, the next Tuesday the staffroom was full. Ms Majozi (from the depart-ment) began by handing out a pile of notes to each teacher. She said there was alot to learn about Curriculum 2005, so she would briefly summarize the notes she 6. 96changing schoolswas handing out, but expected staff to read them more thoroughly at home. Sheinvited them to ask questions, and then began explaining why South Africaneeded a new school curriculum, and what the key changes would be. For thenext hour, the teachers heard phrases like focus on skills, not content, allowlearners to work co-operatively, design meaningful learning activities, allowlearners to discover knowledge for themselves, make sure learning occurs ingroups, and assess your learners through portfolios, projects and oral tasks, aswell as using written tests and exams. Ms Majozis input was very entertaining. She spoke well, and told a number offunny stories. But the teachers felt quite confused. They were not sure what anumber of Ms Majozis terms meant in practice. For instance, many felt they werealready engaged in meaningful activities and teaching children skills! So whatdid Ms Majozi really mean? And some wondered how changes like discoveryteaching or group work were possible, because they had so few resources, and teachersvery little space in their classrooms. But, despite the confusion, most teacherswere too nervous to ask questions because Mrs Majozi seemed to be so knowl- said theyedgeable and in such a hurry. In fact, she had so much to say that there was notaught the learning time left for questions. She apologized for this, and then rushed away to anotherarea called appointment. The teachers left the school feeling quite overwhelmed. Ms Zondi, however, felt happy: her teachers told her that they had found the Communication, but talk interesting and enlightening. Her opinion was that the talk really hadwhat they covered all the things the teachers needed to know, and that her school was nowahead of other schools in the area. In her pleasant way, she told the teachers thatdid in theirshe would be looking out to see that they were changing the way they taught.classrooms still resem- This made the teachers feel even more overwhelmed, and increasingly nervous.bled what they had The main topic of discussion among the staff over the next week wasCurriculum 2005. Some teachers began complaining that it was unfair for Msdone when teachingZondi to expect them to change. Ive been teaching for more than ten years, andthe subject English the methods Ive been using are fine. Very few learners ever fail. Why must Ichange? said one. What nonsense this new curriculum is! said another. How amI expected to try out all these fancy ideas and still get the Std 5s ready for highschool? The department and Ms Zondi should try this group work themselvesand see what a waste of time it is, complained a third. Yet another teacher added:I have tried using different assessment methods before. But my learners donttake these methods seriously because they say the marking is biased they sayits just my opinion. By the end of the week, the attitude among the majority of teachers towardsCurriculum 2005 had turned very negative. Teachers were talking more and moreabout how OBE had failed elsewhere, about how the department was out oftouch with reality, and about how Ms Zondi whom they used to like was actu-ally lazy and authoritarian. Some teachers were suggesting that OBE was simplya way of getting rid of teachers! However, there were a few teachers who were trying to make some of thechanges. But they were struggling. They found they didnt have enough books forlearners to do their own research, that learners often dont take group work seri-ously, and that school periods were simply too short for learner-centred activi-ties. They were also angry at Ms Zondi because she was always too busy whenthey asked her for assistance. Still, after a couple of months, some of the wordingin the schools curriculum and even in teachers work-plans did reflect OBElanguage. So, for instance, teachers said they taught the learning area called Spend a few minutes thinking about why Ms Zondis attempt Communication, but what they did in their classrooms still closely resembled to change the schools what they had done for years when they had taught the subject English. curriculum went wrong. What Ms Zondi was happy until she did her surprise inspection. She found that could she have done differently? very little had changed, although many teachers talked positively about the new 7. understanding change: first ideas97methods when they were talking to her. Feeling quite angry that all her effortshad simply been ignored by ungrateful teachers, she called a staff meeting. Onlyhalf the staff attended, most of whom said they agreed with the new methods andwere trying to implement them. They said it was the other teachers those whonever attended meetings who were the cause of the problem.Analysing the schools approach to changeBefore we can