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Sustainability of Elementary Science


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Slides from a keynote talk on endurance of reform at a convocation on elementary science convened by the National Research Council.

Published in: Technology, Education

Sustainability of Elementary Science

  1. 1. How Can the Research Literature <br />Inform Decisions About <br />What Can and Should be <br />Sustained in Education? <br />Jeanne Century<br />Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education<br />University of ChicagoApril 29, 2009<br />
  2. 2. We need to identify effective practices. <br />We need to scale up effective practices. <br />We need to make effective practices last. <br />We need to make evidence-based decisions. <br />
  3. 3. What is effective science instruction?<br />What practices in science education reform should be sustained? <br />
  4. 4. The Usual Suspects<br />Instructional Materials<br />Leadership<br />Accountability<br />Money<br />Professional Development<br />Policy Alignment<br />Culture<br />
  5. 5. The Un-Usual Suspects<br />Adaptation<br />Critical Mass<br />Perception<br />
  6. 6. Defining <br />Sustainability <br />of Reform<br />The ability of a program to maintain core beliefs and values and use them to guide adaptations to changes and pressures over time. <br />Century & Levy, 2002<br />
  7. 7. education<br />dissemination<br />science education<br />routinization<br />mathematics education <br />sustainability<br />business <br />maintenance<br />marketing<br />institutionalization<br />program<br />health<br />endurance<br />reform<br />economics<br />longevity<br />change<br />persistence<br />innovation<br />utilization<br />policy<br />curriculum<br />knowledge<br />implementation<br />organizational change<br />
  8. 8. What is lasting?<br />The program<br />The effects of the program<br />The philosophy of the program<br />
  9. 9. What is the nature of lasting?<br />It stays the same.<br />It changes.<br />It becomes embedded in daily practice.<br />
  10. 10. Factors<br />Characteristics of it<br />Characteristics of people in the organization<br />Elements of the internal environment<br />Elements of the external environment<br />Emotional mediators<br />Strategies<br />Fit<br />
  11. 11. Fit<br />Fit with values<br />Fit with beliefs<br />Fit with needs<br />Fit with current practice<br />
  12. 12. Mechanisms and Processes<br />Types of movement<br />Scale-Up<br />Translation and adaptation<br />Replication<br />
  13. 13. We need to identify effective practices. <br />What does it mean for a practice to be effective? <br />Effective practices are useable, flexible and resilient. <br />
  14. 14. We need to scale up effective practices. <br />What does it mean to scale up? <br />We need to translate, not replicate. <br />
  15. 15. We need to make effective practices last. <br />What should last and for how long? <br />The time horizon shifts the answer.<br />
  16. 16. We need to make evidence-based decisions. <br />What evidence counts? <br />Evidence from all aspects of the improvement process counts.<br />
  17. 17. Consider….<br />The Time Horizon<br />Learning<br />“…if it were possible to make small experiments with wild ideas, while retaining the possibility of diffusing those that prove to be good ones, the adaptive position of exploration would be strengthened (Romano, 2002; Holahan, Weil and Wiener, 2003). Since structures that protect the system from the catastrophic consequences of wild ideas generally also inhibit the transfer of major discoveries (Cohen and Levinthal, 1989, 1990), there is no perfect solution to the problem.” March, 2005<br />
  18. 18. What do we know and what can we do?<br />Steps to take now.<br />ResearchersBuild and use the research.<br />FundersBe patient and embrace mistakes.<br />BusinessBring long-term perspective and participate.<br />Reform LeadersConsider flexible adaptation.<br />
  19. 19. “Much of education is about behavior change and as educators we are familiar with some of the issues, but in education reform we are talking about changing not just the behavior of learners but the behavior of teachers teacher educators, head teachers, curriculum developers and so on.” Smith, 2005 <br /><br />