Chapter 10 of Fowler, F. C. (2009) Policy studies for educational leaders: an introduction, 3rd ed. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, really got me thinking. I couldn’t help but easily relate to my work over the past 7 years or so in Goochland. Where Fowler is specifically talking about policy implementation, I’d use different language, despite the fact we’re by and large, talking about the same thing.
I think about my activities as an instructional technologist around big-picture frameworks. These come in the form of initiatives. Those that come to mind were our individual technology plans for teachers, our teacher blogging initiative, and our G21(TM) Twenty-First Century Skills Framework. All the issues with making sure folks understand why changes are being enacted, gathering buy-in, getting school administrator support, having the resources for time, management, and money, were all strikingly familiar.
I wonder how successful I would have been having read this chapter seven years ago? One of the biggest take-aways from the chapter is the definition of a problem before implementing new policy. Our initiatives all came about from perceived problems, but I am not sure we spent enough time articulating these problems to all stakeholders.
This chapter was full of food-for-thought. Implementing policy, né initiatives, has been the bulk of my work in my current position. It does carry challenges, but when you believe in these initiatives and you find success, it’s ultimately rewarding. Improving teaching and learning, an area around which the initiatives I’ve been most closely involved with have dealt, is reason enough to take on the challenges. This was the most practical, pragmatic chapter thus far for me.