Despite immense efforts to understand schools, we know very little about the contribution they make to student learning. Further, the limited available evidence indicates that the way schools are designed, organized, and managed have only a minimal effect on student outcomes. The Self-Organizing School addresses this problem and the pressing need for reform models that go further, last longer, and posses the capacity to both respect, as well as deeply influence, what teachers and schools do. The Self-Organizing School identifies nine next-generation reform targets and articulates theory and practice for achieving these goals. In doing so, a self-organized school sets a new benchmark for evaluating site-based data and examples of a process that turns theory into practice. This includes better ways to begin a reform process and understand the roles of technology and feedback in the teaching profession. The theory and practice described in the book are backed by more than 1,600 direct classroom observations, an 8-year study of student achievement, more than 12,000 student evaluations, and a 5-year study of teacher perspectives.
The Self-Organizing School is unique in providing a comprehensive, research-driven approach to systemic, site-based school reform—an approach that successfully melds the theoretical with the practical. Bain understands the realities and challenges from a principal's perspective and embeds his detailed study in the examples of real experience drawn from an 11-year school reform process. Cogent in its advice and a compelling read, The Self-Organizing School is a must for all school leaders committed to effecting real, transformational change in today's demanding educational context.
The Self-Organizing School shows what it takes to sustain and scale technology-driven school reform. This book captures the scope and the process from theory to practice and includes essential understandings for anyone interested in large scale change in education.
The Self-Organizing School places technology where it belongs in school reform—at the heart of what students and teachers do in classrooms every day. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in school change and the role technology can play in making educational reform deep, meaningful and sustainable.
Alan Bain is associate professor of inclusive education at Charles Sturt University, Australia, and an international consultant to schools, education systems and industry on technology integration and school reform.