This is response to a blog post – How to transform learning in schools?
I appreciated reading this blog post as it provoked me to reflect on how I define the terms improvement and transformation. I agree that improvement and transformation have different meanings, yet seem to be interchangeable in some educational literature. Will improvement lead to transformation? Will transformation lead to improvement? My argument is that improvement can lead to transformation. I also believe in beginning with the possibilities or “end in mind” which means that having a transformation “in mind” can lead to improvement.
When I reflect on my experiences and interest in studying school reform, I believe improvements can lead to transformation. If improvement is the progress towards something better, then an improvement can be defined as the action taken or process when striving for change. An increase in value, quality or condition would be reasons for implementing an improvement. In education, I believe an improvement refers to what we do or enact in order to achieve a change. Typical educational improvements involve instructional improvements, such as changes to teaching, learning and assessment. An example of an instructional improvement would be to leverage technology in making provisions for continuous feedback loops. The improvement, in this case, may be better student writing. This should not be confused with the transformation that may eventually take place over time.
Transformation is the scaffolded change that may occur as a result of implementing the improvement over time. After a period of time, there may be evidence that continuous feedback resulted in a transformation of student writing or shift from very simple and non-specific writing to more descriptive and detailed pieces of writing. This marked change would be considered a transformation. In recent projects involving innovative instructional changes, I have observed changes over time in the people, practices and places. Perhaps a dialogue about the “end in mind” regarding the people, their practices and places they learn, would help in developing perspective regarding the purpose of schools. How would the people (i.e. students, teachers, parents, administrators, etc.) change due to the implementation of an improvement? How would their practices change over time? How would the physical and digital spaces evolve?
What would transformation look like from your perspective?