School Reform and Globalization
We are in the era of school reform and globalization. School reform is the perpetuation of federal and state policy agendas that drive our school systems to compliance, external accountability, and standardization in order to prepare students for college and career readiness. Globalization refers to the flat, interconnected world that is inspired by the endless knowledge, collaboration, and technology, creating a competitive innovation economy. In theory, school reform efforts seek to prepare students for the future.
Innovation in simplest terms is defined by Zhao (2012) as preparing students to learn, work, and live in an interconnected global world. How innovative is my learning organization? Why is important to know? Innovation is the key to take learning out of a traditional paradigm to create the future as it is happening (Scharmer, 2009). Learning organizations empower students and teachers when leaders embark on a passionate course to ensure that education is more than covering curriculum, meeting standards, and collecting data on external assessments. While it may be uncomfortable to take a deeper look at the innovation in our learning organizations, it is critical to ensuring that our students are learning for the future unknown, recognizing that they are in fact, the catalysts in creating the world in which they will continue to learn and work.
Traditional School Model vs. Innovative School Model
Students not only require but desire learning that will inspire their passions, creativity, entrepreneurship, and above all, their skills and abilities needed to not only survive, but to succeed in the era of globalization. Therefore, education is not just about schooling but learning, and although lifelong learning is key, more importantly, education must be driven by the core of innovation in the learning organization. Yet, the majority of learning that takes place in traditional school models, for a number of arguable reasons, are outdated, externally driven, and cannot provide the education needed by students, or the professional development required by teachers; it remains static, standardized, and one-size-fits-all.
Getting to the Innovation Core
The future of education must embrace an innovative learning model. Every learning organization has an innovation core to a certain extent or another and notably some more than others. One just has to observe students in classrooms, tour school buildings, speak to educators and collaborate in professional learning networks to see leaders, teachers, and students in action. Learning organizations must remain and enhance innovation to provide educational communities with the opportunity to co-create their school design-school culture. In order to strengthen and enhance existing innovation to meet the needs of diverse learners, teachers, and administrators, the concept of the learning organization is conceptualized.
The Conceptual Foundation
A visualization of innovation in the learning organization helps illustrate the concept of the learning organization. Outside of the school, is the context of school reform and globalization. For now, think of this visualization as the skeletal framework that will evolve as the learning organization or school discovers its innovation core. This will be discussed in future posts.
- Innovation can be qualified through the study of a school or learning organization’s school culture and school design. It is not based on student achievement on local, state, national or international assessments.
- Innovation has a relationship with school design and school culture and can be quantified using a qualitative nomenclature.
- School design and school culture are analogous and cannot be analyzed in isolation. They have a symbiotic connection.
- School design-school culture is comprised of elements and components with differing degrees of innovation.
- The most innovative elements and components become the school’s innovation taxonomy based on their degree of innovation determined by the analysis of the information provided by leaders, teachers, and students in the learning organization.
- The innovation taxonomy is the basis for the school model: traditional (academic), mixed (traditional and innovative), or entrepreneurial (innovative).
Getting to the Innovation Core Part II will discuss the nomenclature required to uncover how a learning organization is innovative and how the taxonomy of innovation reveals the degree to which elements and components are innovative.