Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning
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Newmann, F. M. (1993). Beyond common sense in educational restructuring: The issues of content and linkage. Educational Researcher, 22 (2), 4-13.
Common sense proposals for restructuring schools suggest promising directions, but in order for this potential to be fulfilled, two major issues must be addressed: What content is needed to give educational direction to the structures, and how can the many factors that influence this content be linked? The common sense proposals claim that new organizational structures will either increase the commitment (motivation) of adults to teach and students to learn, or they will increase the competence (technical capacity) of adults to offer a better learning environment. Newmann proposes an agenda of content for teacher commitment and competence needed to give direction to structural innovation. The following themes would be addressed: (1) depth of understanding and authentic learning; (2) success for all students; (3) new roles for teachers; and (4) schools as caring communities. Newmann then explains that if policy is to be designed to affect teachers' commitments and competencies, the different parts of the educational system should be aligned. No theory adequately explains both how to change all the separate agencies that influence education and how to link them to have more cumulative impact. Four prominent ideas, however, may constitute a loose theory about what is needed: high standards, high incentives/high stakes, local empowerment, and collaborative organization. These ideas are insufficient, however, because they fail to explain how the disparate institutions that affect teachers will change to support the new agenda in a coordinated fashion; they fail to resolve a potentially fatal contradiction between local empowerment and high external standards; and they fail to explain how the society at large will make the necessary financial investments in both schools and the building of social capital.
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