Fullan Staff Development, Innovation, and Institutional Development

Fullan, M. (1990). Staff development, innovation, and institutional development. In Changing school culture through staff development: The 1990 ASCD yearbook. (pp. 3– 25). Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Basic Summary:
    This article comments on professional development.

•    A close, intimate relationship exists between professional development and change (successful implementation of an innovation). (PD) (Change Theory)
•    Staff development: “is conceived broadly to include any activity or process intended to improve skills, attitudes, understandings, or performance in present or future roles (p. 3, as cited in Little, Sparks, and Loucks-Horsley (in press)). (PD)
•    Reasons why effective PD is not practiced: (PD)
    o    “It takes a great deal of wisdom, skill, and persistence to design and carry out successful staff development activities (p. 4)” (Technical reason)
    o    “Staff development is a big business, as much related to power, bureaucratic positions, and territoriality as it is to helping teachers and students (p. 4)” (political reason).
•    Hypocritical perceptions of staff development – Although it is seen a central strategy for improvement, “it is frequently separated artificially from the institutional and personal contexts in which it operates (p. 4).”

•    Staff Deveopment as a Strategy for Implementation (PD) (Change Theory) (Dev't Theory)
    o    “Effective implementation consists of alterations in curriculum materials, practices and behavior, and beliefs and understandings by teachers vis-à-vis potentially worthwhile innovations (regardless of whether the innovations were locally or externally developed) (p. 4).”
    o    “Successful change involves learning how to do something new (p. 4).”
    o    Stallings 12 conditions under which teachers are more likely to change their behavior and implement innovations (pp. 5-6):
        •    After analyzing a self-observation, they develop an awareness of some need for improvement.
        •    Teachers commit to implementing new innovations the next day and express that commitment in writing.
        •    Any ideas taken from the professional development sessions are adapted for use in their own classrooms.
        •    Innovations are attempted and such implementations are evaluated.
        •    They have the opportunity to observe their peers and analyze their own data from those experiences.
        •    Successes and failures can be shared with peers in a group setting.
        •    Opportunities for discussion about problems of practice about students and/or subject matter and potential solutions to such problems exist.
        •    Engage with material in a variety of forms including modeling, simulation, observation, videotape critique, and professional presentations.
        •    They develop an inquiry stance towards teaching (my wording) – (actual wording – “They learn in their own way continuity to set new goals for professional growth.”)
    o    A study by Joyce et al. (1989) found that an 18 month intensive training effort produced considerable but varied implementation of the innovation, which led to a “dramatic impact on student achievement and student promotion rates (p. 7).”
    o    Pink’s (1989) 12 change barriers: (all 12 quoted from p. 7) (Change Theory)
        •    “An adequate theory of implementation, including too little time for teachers to plan for and learn new skills and practices”
        •    “District tendencies toward faddism and quick-fix soluitons”
        •    “Lack of sustained central office support and follow-through”
        •    “Underfunding the project, or trying to do too much with too little support”
        •    “Attempting to manage the projects from the central office instead of developing school leadership and capacity”
        •    “Lack of technical assistance and other forms of intesnseive staff development”
        •    “Lack of awareness of the limitations of teacher and school administrator knowledge about how to implement the project”
        •    “The turnover of teachers in each school”
        •    “Too many competing demands or overload”
        •    “Failure to address the incompatibility between project requirements and existing organizational policies and structures”
        •    “Failure to understand and take into account site-specific differences among schools”
        •    “Failure to clarify and negotiate the role relationships and partnerships involving the district and the local university – who in each case had a role, albeit unclarified, in the project” (Pink 1989, pp. 22-24)
    o    “Staff development, implementation of innovations, and student outcomes are closely interrelated, but because they require such a sophisticated, persistent effort to coordinate, they are unlikely to succeed in many situations. Any success that does occur is unlikely to be sustained beyond the tenure or energy of the main initiators of the project (p. 7).”

•    Staff Development as an Innovation (PD)
    o    Sometimes small bumps in the road along the way are a good thing.
    o    Mentor roles need to be clear. Undefined and unclarified roles are implementation barriers because they do not promote credibility to the role.
    o    Miles (1986) 14 factors for success (quoted from pp.10-11)
        •    Initiation
        •    Linked to high profile need
        •    Clear model of implementation
        •    One or more strong advocates
        •    Active initiation
        •    Implementation
        •    Coordination
        •    Shared control
        •    Pressure and support
        •    Ongoing technical assistance
        •    Early rewards for teachers
        •    Institutionalization
        •    Embedding
        •    Links to instruction
        •    Widespread use
        •    Removal of competing priorities
        •    Continuing assistance

•    Staff Development and Institutional Development (LO/PDS)
    o    When planning and implementing staff development, it is critical to work equally with individuals and the organization. Organizational development is equally important.
    o    Positive staff development experiences can, inadvertently, impact the culture of the school by impacting the collegiality of the staff.
    o    The impact of single, passing programs, even with high merit, is minimal to collegiality. Their effects, like the short programs, are passing and fleeting.
    o    Coaching and Culture of the School
        •    School culture matters.
        •    School culture has a strong impact on the success and sustained impact of the professional development.
        •    “The pre-existing climate of collegiality explained whether or not the project was successful (p. 13).”
    o    Form and Content
        •    Form defined “involves the degree and type of collaborative relationship (p. 13).”
        •    Little lists four types of relationships, which exist along an independence – interdependence continuum:
            •    Storytelling and scanning for ideas
            •    Aid and assistance
            •    Mutual sharing
            •    Joint Work


Relationship Continuum.png

    o    Autonomy and Collaboration (LO/PDS)
        •    Many teachers engage in purposeful isolation for survival purposes in order to protect the limited time and energy they have to complete the required demands of administrative and instructional duties. It is often a coping mechanism in order to accomplish all required tasks and meet all demands – in essence, to get things done.
        •    Hargreaves four types of school cultures:
                •    Fragmented Individualism
                •    Balkanization
                •    Contrived Collegiality
                •    Collaborative Cultures
        •    “Contrived collegiality can ignore the real culture of the school and lead to a proliferation of unwanted contacts among teachers that consume already scarce time with little to show for it (p. 15).”
        •    “Collegially oriented staff development initiatives either fail to address the more basic question of school culture, or vastly underestimate what it takes to change them (p. 16).” (Change Theory)
        •    Individual efforts “either cannot be sustained over time or are vulnerable to the inevitable departure of key individuals (p. 16).”
    o    An Illustration
        •    The school discussed in this illustration made the assumption that “classroom and school improvement must be linked and integrated if serious improvements are to be achieved (p. 16).” (Do we make that same assumption? What assumptions are we making?)
        •    The four characteristics necessary for school improvement: (Little 1987, Rosenholtz 1989) (LO/PDS) (Change Theory)
            •    Shared purpose
                o    Vision, mission, goals, objectives, and unity of purpose
            •    Norms of collegiality
                o    “The extent to which mutual sharing, assistance, and joint work among teachers is valued and honored in the school (p.17).”
            •    Norms of continuous improvement
                o    “Teachers are constantly seeking and assessment potentially better practices inside and outside their own school (and contributing to other people’s practice through dissemination) (p.17).”
            •    Structures that represent the organizational conditions necessary for significant improvement
                o    “…include organizational arrangements, roles, and formal policies that explicity build in working conditions that, so to speak, support and press for movement in the other cogs (p. 18).”

•    Implications (PDS)
    o    “Those involved in staff development must think and act more holistically about the personal and professional lives of teachers as individuals (p.22).”
    o    Currently staff development practices do not impact “the bigger scheme of teachers’ lives (p. 22).”
    o    Those involved with staff development need to work “more organically with the school as an organization (p. 22).”

Potential Resources:
•    Huberman, M., and M. Miles. (1984). Innovation Up Close. New York: Plenum.

Resources Cited:
•    Joyce, B, C. Murphy, B. Showers, and J. Murphy. (1989). “Reconstructing the Workplace: School Renewal as Cultural Change.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.
•    Little, J. (1989). “The ‘Mentor’ Phenomenon and the Social Organization of Teaching.” Review of Research in Education 5, 16. Washington, D.C.: American Educational Research Association.
•    Little, J. (In press). “District Policy Choices and Teachers’ Professional Development Opportunities.” Educational Evaluation and policy Analysis.
•    Miles, M. (1986). “Research Findings on the Stages of School Improvement.” Conference on Planned Change, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
•    Pink, W. (1989). “Effective Development of Urban School Improvement.” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco.
•    Rosenholtz, S. (1989). Teachers’ Workplace. New York: Longman.
•    Sparks, D., and S. Loucks-Horsley. (In press). “Models of Staff Development.” In Handbook of Research on Teacher Education. New York: Macmillan Publishing and the Association of Teacher Educators.