The Right Drivers for Whole System Success

In a brief conversation, Anthony Mackay and Michael Fullan, Global Leadership Director of New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and a worldwide authority on educational reform, discuss Fullan’s recently released paper, The Right Drivers for Whole System Success.

February 2021

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Fullan CSE Leading Education Series-01-2021R2-compressed

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3 thoughts on “The Right Drivers for Whole System Success

  1. A good systems analysis of where we are and signposts of a journey.

    But…getting schools unstuck from being prisoners of the past needs a viable template, a systematic/phonetic/ paradigmatic approach to research and critical reflection. Vertical tutoring offers such a template and autopoiesis and transformative learning a means.
    Hopeful, the deep learning team will appreciate how schools can change themselves and their minds. Kurt Lewin and Mezirow and Laloux teach us about unfreezing and the need to raise organisational consciousness. The wisdom of Fullan provides such a platform but the leap requires risk and courage from school leaders something we have removed through misdirection of values…

  2. Fullan asserts that “change is necessary and desirable” and discusses the journey of how this change can be achieved and be worthwhile in his paper ‘The Right Drivers for Whole School Success’. He talks about how interlinking the four key drivers of wellbeing and learning, social intelligence, equity investments and systemness are crucial in implementing change. As Head Teachers striving for improvement and excellence, this paper is uplifting, exciting and inspiring. What must be explored further though, is how to implement and sustain this change as we face the monumental challenge of trying to navigate our way through the Covid pandemic whilst spinning an ever-increasing amount of plates. It is accurate that we need to make up for loss of learning as a result of the pandemic and Fullan details some exciting ways in which this can be achieved using these four drivers to influence positive change. However, a robust and effective approach into how we do this is something which needs to be explored further. Where should we start?

  3. At a time when there has been so much focus on the negative impact of the pandemic on education, it has been refreshing to read and imagine that it could be the catalyst for meaningful systems change. Although school staff are weary this is a moment of real opportunity: we have been forced out of our comfort zones and even those most resistant to change can now longer hide behind, “Well that’s how we’ve always done it.”. We have been brutally exposed to the sharp, enduring and endemic inequalities facing our young people and how our current system, particularly our assessment practice and academic obsession, perpetuates this. We, and the young people Fullan identifies as “change makers on the move” are the system and we must be brave enough to challenge what we perceive as unfair and use the four drivers as a means to collaborate and develop to create a better, more equitable future for our young people.
    The connected autonomy Fullan discusses is key to the success of this and we must work together to deviate from the unhelpful “loss of learning” narrative that has emerged and instead consider the global competencies and how the connect to the four capacities in the Scottish context and focus on how as a system we support young people to have a purpose and understand their place in the world. There are undoubtedly challenges in achieving this when the global situation is deteriorating and the current system is accountable to data driven local authorities and often used as a political football by governments with an eye on the next election rather than long term, meaningful improvement.
    Yet despite these challenges, Fullan offers us four drivers which have potential to help us navigate change successfully if they interact and balance effectively. His vision challenges us but is uplifting and reminds us that hope and optimism are key qualities for leaders in education as we strive to create opportunities for young people to thrive and achieve their potential.

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