Driving Change - The Role of School Administrators

Teaching Strategies

By Michael Hilkemeijer

 

There are many factors that influence the development of ICT capability. In addition to the school’s ICT policy, a school’s culture must be one that has a strong belief that using ICT can promote teaching and learning. It also needs to understand that it can also “increase the efficiency of the day-to-day activities within the school and generally improve the quality of the school’s performance” (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000, p. 59). The strength of an ICT culture within a school is a very powerful force in determining the direction of a school. 

Today, various cultures exists and while some are open to change and have an experimental approach others have an approach that favours traditional methods with an emphasis of tried and tested techniques. Both have positives and negatives, however, if a school is to move forward “along with the changing nature of the world of work, it must be prepared to adopt a culture that prepares its students for change” (Kennewell, Parkinson, & Tanner, 2000, p. 59). These days more and more industrial, professional and business occupations require a basic understanding of ICT rather than specific knowledge, which has a short working life. There is a need to prepare students for a life of constant change resulting from the progress of technology. 

Change, as Harrison (1998) states, is an intriguing part of the human experience. In schools, it can be met very differently with teachers disliking it and finding it difficult to accept it and thus entailing poor results. The other side of teacher attitudes is more successful in the implementation of ICT.  Despite this, those resistant to change need to understand that the more traditional structures and modes of teaching are becoming less and less responsive to the challenges of our turbulent times (Semenov, 2005). Innovation and transformation are being expected of educators everywhere, especially in Primary education, which is “the most crucial stage in the development of a human being” (Semenov, 2005, p. 18). Furthermore, we cannot separate the internal problems of schooling from the external changes in society on a global scale. We need a new kind of school for the 21st century. In Abbott’s (2001, p. 46) discussion about the need for change he quotes Postman and Weingartner (1971, p. 13) in relation to schools resistant to change: 

“The institution we call ‘school is what it is because we made it that way. If it is irrelevant, as Marshall McLuhan says; if it shields children from reality, as Norbert Wiener says; if it does not develop intelligence, as Jerome Bruner says; if it is based on fear, as John Hold says; if it avoids the promotion of significant learning, as Carl Rogers says; if it punishes and creativity and independence……in short, if it is not doing what needs to be done, it can be changed, it must be changed.”

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