Leveraging Social Capital in Systemic Education Reform
Much has been written of late about the need to reform school systems across the world. In like manner there have been many attempts to change school systems for the better but without a great deal of success. This, in part, has much to do with the inertia in school systems and the nature of the work. The professional isolation of teachers from one another in schools is no excuse but it is a key factor in the development of system wide professional capital. This book explores the importance of school leadership and the use of digital media to develop social capital in schools. Particular examples of school reforms that focused on developing professional capital with varying degrees of success are to be seen in the UAE, in reforms to the Australian middle school, and in attempts to reform the Community College in the USA.
Throughout the book there are three powerful ideas associated with successful large scale reforms. First, there are the structural elements that all successful school systems have in common including revised curriculum standards, a reliable assessment system, technical skills of teachers and school leaders, a comprehensive data system, rewards and remuneration of workforce and policy documents to support change. Second, strategic imperatives such as the singular focus on teaching and learning for student success, the need to build workforce capacity in schools, the need to ensure system wide implementation of reforms and the importance of collaboration and team building. Third, the systematic development of professional learning communities and teacher leadership will increase social capital in schools which will ensure student success. This book looks at overcoming the inertia to school reform in education systems caused by structural deficiencies, strategic shortfalls and implementation procedures.
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