Critical Review On The Elusive Nature Of Whole System Improvement In Education

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Question :



Assignment 1:  Question 

Write a critical essay (critique) on the following article:

Title:                The elusive nature of whole system improvement in education    

Author:            Michael Fullan

Source:           Journal of Educational Change, November 2016, Volume 17, Issue 4.

                        (Available online through OUM Digital Library)

Your essay should contain the important ideas discussed in the paper and a critical analysis.  You are expected to include the following:

  1. Summary of the article
  2. Strengths and limitations of the study 
  3. Implications of this study for teaching practices
  4. Utility or relevance of the ideas presented in this study to your own context or background

You are to offer an actively engaged response to the writers’ ideas, supported by thoughtful reasoning and proof. You are strongly encouraged to engage with ideas, theories and other research in this field, thus providing a review of relevant literature to support your arguments.

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Answer :


In this study, there is a requirement to change the educational system and needs to introduce various innovation processes for the betterment of education among the students. There are enough evidence of author to make a successive effort for improving the educational system. In order to make the critical analysis of the study, author Michael Fullan has conducted “The elusive nature of whole system improvement in education”. In order to make brief discussions about improvement of educational system, author has divided the sections based on the strength and limitations of the study. Moreover, the improvements of education system would be better analyzed with the help of making proper implications on the various processes of teaching techniques. In this study, author has chosen various areas to make the improvement of whole systems of education. These areas are based upon country, state or any provinces to carry out research work. Moreover, author has chosen two drivers based on right and wrong that helps to carry out the work in a positive way.   

Summary of the Article:

In this study, author Michael Fullan has analyzed on the improvement of whole system in education. In order to continue this process of improvements of whole system in education, author has focused on the policy to carry the culture of schools (Hargreaves, Lieberman, Fullan & Hopkins, 2014). In regard of improvement of whole system education, author has chosen certain areas to make the development of education. There is a high necessity to carry the exact driver policy to achieve the better result in the development of educational system. Four wrong drivers include in punitive, accountability, piecemeal policy, technology and individualism. In the punitive accountability lies with the accountability that lies with using the better results that contributes with the appraisal of teacher to formulate reward or punishment. In the piecemeal policy there follows with a proper decision taking capacity, that deals with the exact use of policy. 

The piecemeal policy is considered as a right driver policy at the time of making in decision at the time for improvements of whole system of education.  In the technology, there lies with innovation that helps in making the betterment of educational system. In individualism lies with the factors that helps to promote educational system in the society by individual (Thurlings, Evers & Vermeulen, 2015). There are certain right driver policy that includes in collaboration, systemic policy, capacity building and pedagogy. In the collaboration there lies with teamwork that helps in promoting the better education system in the society. Moreover, the proper working of the teamwork helps in spreading the education system among every individual.  In order to promote the educational system there is a requirement to carry the proper policy in a systematic manner. In the pedagogy there includes following the given instruction based on the systematic policy. In the capacity building states with a process that helps to develop the skills, ability, resources required while working in the organization. The proper capacity building helps to promote the educational system and its importance among the individual and thus helps to develop the society. 

There is a high importance to carry the real driver as it directly affects the culture of institutions including certain factors, which lies with skills, norms, values and practice. The carrying out of right drivers helps in motivating teacher and student and helps them to focus on the exact driving force. The right drivers’ helps in making the exact improvement of instructional that assist both teacher and student to engage on the proper educational system (Watson, 2014).  Moreover, by carrying the effective working of teams helps in the development of skills and motivation between the teacher and student. There are three aspects that helps to drive the model to change whole system in education and this are followed as:-

a) There is a requirement of system that assist in making a solution in innovation and continuous improvement of education.

b) There is a requirement to introduce a local ownership that help in building a proper relationship with teacher, student and policy makers.

c) There is a necessity to maintain pedagogical that helps in making the required changes based on the learning of education.  

Strength and Limitations of the Study:

          In this study, there rises certain limitations and strength that needs to be carried out to develop the educational system. In this case, author Michael Fullan has carried out six case studies to continue the research work. In the first case there lies with the educational system crises rise in the country of South Africa (Fullan, 2014). There are certain initiatives made from Gauteng Department of Education to improve the performance of education among the students. In order to carry out these procedures, there is certain strategy made to improve the performance of mathematics among the students. This can be carried out by the reform leaders with the process of improving the educational system and innovative adaption of developing skills and numeracy among the students. 

In the second case, a campaign has been carried out in India regarding the basic education among the students. The main strategy to carry out the Read India campaign is to improve the learning outcomes among the students that includes with poor community and girls. This helps in implementing the basic reading capability and improving the skills of mathematics based on a primary grading system (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). Moreover, this helps in developing the better learning capabilities among the students and assists to improve the skills. 

In the third case, Escuela Nueva in Colombia has been taken into consideration to improve the educational system. In order to overcome from this situation, a program model has been carried out in Colombia to improve education in rural schools. Moreover, the Ministry of Education has started a new level of educational system to achieve a high level of success among the students in rural schools.  

In the fourth case, a project has been started in Mexico to develop education in public schools. Moreover, this project has been formed with the help of learning groups having the main aim to improve the performance of education among the students. This can be implemented by carrying out skills program among the students with the help of nationals tests (Cerna, 2013). 

In the fifth case, Fullan has been chosen California to improve the process of educational system among the students. This improvement can be carried out with the help of Long Beach Unified School District in U.S. There are certain outcomes that rise from the system that follows with the desired skills and mapping process.

In the final study, Fullan has chosen the case of Ontario to make the change of educational system. In the changing process, there is involvement of leaders in Ministry of schooling system that helps to continue the change process in the educational system. These changes could be carried among both low and high level of students keeping in mind about the literacy pedagogy (Bowe, Ball & Gold, 2017). 

The strength of educational change and innovation are as follows:-

  1. The educational system helps to carry the proper procedure of learning. 
  2. Educational system assists to implement new practices for learning among the teachers.
  3. The educational system helps to make proper commitment on partnership that are based upon education of Non-government Company.
  4. This helps to implement strategy based on practical pedagogies that makes a large scale change in society.
  5. Educational system is carried forward with the assist of educational policy made by government of the country.

The limitations of educational change and innovation are as follows:-

a) The limitations lie with certain students that after carrying out the skills of learning, the students might not get any experiences.

b) The limitations lie with carrying out the study in the wider range of population. 

c) After carry out the skills programs, teachers might not execute proper learning among the students to spread education efficiently.

d) The limitations also lie with the less use of technology that helps to change in the educational system.

e) Moreover, all the institution focus on the academic learning rather than the practical knowledge.   

Implications of the study for teaching practices:

          There are certain implications that lie with the study for teaching practices. This can be implemented with the help of reforms that makes the effective surrounding of environment in classroom and provides a better ambiance to carry out the educational process (Bygate,  Skehan & Swain, 2013). There is certain strategy that needs to be carried out to enhance certain skills among the students. This includes with learning of certain actions based on learning and academic skills. It also includes with the collaboration of learning that assist to focus on improving the academic knowledge among the students. As opined by Griffin & Care, (2014), there is a huge necessity to change the educational system that helps to provide the learning skills and knowledge among students. Moreover, the change of educational system helps in the development of society and provides a wide learning knowledge among the students. 

The educational department has been focused on the professional learning among the teachers that helps in providing the better education among the students. There is a high necessity to establish a better learning approach between the student and teacher with the proper communication of the academic knowledge. The educational system and innovation process are implemented by educators or teacher among the students and makes to improve the change of system. Moreover, the students need to find a strong relationship with the findings and interest rise from the academic field. The changes in educational system can be introduced with the help of technology (Thomas, Silverman & Nelson, 2015). The technological process drives educational system into a new format of learning that assist in gaining more knowledge among the student and increases the interest on a particular academic field.  

Utility or relevance of ideas that is presented in study or background:

          While working on this case, there are certain change in education and introducing of innovation that makes the appropriate changes. Moreover, there are positive and wrong drivers that are used to lead the system and makes improvement (Bryman & Bell, 2015). In order to make the changes in educational system there are certain policy that needs to be followed to make the appropriate changes and would be applicable in various areas. The introduction of policy is designed in such a manner that teacher or educators could make special techniques to spread academic knowledge among the student in a successful manner. The knowledge that is spread by the educators or teacher includes with learning and skills that helps students to perform better in academic field. 

Moreover, there are learning that leads certain modes that assist in transmitting knowledge among the students. There are certain uses of technology that implement to spread the better education process among students (Griffin & Care, 2014). The new usage of technology helps to implement the better practice of teaching in an institution with the assistance of educators or teachers. Moreover, by introducing new techniques of technology helps to transmit the better process of education and helps the students to sharpen their skills and ability. There is a high requirement to make the change in the educational system and innovation. Concerning this, author Michael Fullan has been focused on the six cases to make the changes on those particular areas to continue in a successive research work. 


          It has been concluded that author Michael Fullan has focused on improving the completely educational system in various areas. In order to continue this research, Fullan has focused on six cases to make the study work more effective. The six cases represent the improvement of whole system of education that is followed with certain factors. There is a requirement to make a favorable change to improve the culture in learning. There is a requirement to continue the process of innovation and improvement in a system that assist to achieve the better performance among the students. It has been concluded that change process are achieved by improving numerical skills and increase the literacy level among the student. The teacher or educators needs to focus on high quality of learning that assists in making the improvement in quality of teaching. This further helps in making the changes in education and provides innovation.