Systemic change is change that occurs in all aspects and levels of the educational process and that affects all of the people included in this process--students, teachers, parents, administrators, and community members. It is a dynamic process that requires constant communication and evaluation and has implications for curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development.
The Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands (1995) offers the following activity for understanding the meaning of systemic change:
Audience: Individuals responsible for reform in science and
Desired Outcomes for Participants:
Time Required: 3 hours
Facilitator's Notes: The Toolkit for Professional Developers is useful only within a context of new thinking about change in education. Many of the individual activities have been used for years to develop knowledge and skills related to particular aspects of a professional developer's role. What is new today, however, is the idea of systemic thinking--the imperative that what we do in one aspect of education be integrally related to what we do in all others, and that the sum of those actions be centered on a shared vision of learning and how to reach all learners.
The challenge for the facilitator is to help participants develop specific new skills and knowledge, and yet keep those related to the big picture of systemic change. In every activity of the Toolkit, we have suggested ways to help participants do so. In addition, we have developed this activity to provide a frame of reference--a beginning understanding of systems thinking in the context of systemic reform--that can be used as additional Toolkit activities unfold.
An anticipated outcome of this activity is that participants will have their own "working" definition of what a systemic reform effort looks like. If they have had no other exposure to the ideas of systemic change and systems thinking, their new understandings will be quite thin. . . . The alternative, which is suggested by how we have actually sequenced the activities in the book, is to have participants develop new knowledge and skills in some of the areas most relevant to their work--related to effective science and mathematics education, dissemination, and/or professional development--and have them reconsider their working definition of systemic reform as they learn. In this way, they will "construct" their knowledge of systemic change over time through learning and applying new ways to be effective in their work. . . .
While waiting for a train with his widowed mother, a young Amish boy witnesses the murder of an undercover narcotics agent. When the boy identifies a high-ranking member of the police force as the murderer, the police detective (Harrison Ford) reports this only to the police commissioner. Though seriously injured in an attempt on his life, Ford manages to get the boy and his mother back to their Pennsylvania Amish community. Because of the potential danger to the community if he is discovered, Ford is nursed back to health and grudgingly allowed to participate in the life of the Amish community as one of their own. The clip you are going to see depicts Ford's participation in a barn raising. The movie takes place in the mid-1980s.
Show the barn-raising scene. After the music ends and the lunch prayer begins--about ten minutes--turn the movie off.