The New Imperatives of Educational Change is a clarion call to move beyond the standardized testing and marketplace competition that have become pervasive in school systems to focus instead on creating the conditions that will encourage all students to become critical and independent thinkers. Dennis Shirley presents five new imperatives to guide educators and policymakers towards a re-thinking of what it means to teach effectively and to learn in depth. The evidentiary imperative requires educators to attain a better grasp of what data actually reveal about international trends in student learning. The interpretive imperative encourages mindful deliberation before acting on evidence in order to promote the integrity of a school community. The professional imperative describes new international research findings on promising pedagogies and curricula that propel learning in new directions. The global imperative argues that we all must look beyond our national boundaries to improve the flourishing of all young people, wherever they may be found. Finally, the existential imperative reminds us that students look to their teachers as role models who can dignify learning with meaning and embellish life with joy. Visionary in its scope and practical in its details, The New Imperatives of Educational Change is an indispensable road map for all teachers, principals, and system leaders.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Tipping Point for Educational Change
Chapter 1: Imperatives Old and New
Chapter 2: The Evidentiary Imperative: Studying Results
Chapter 3: The Interpretive Imperative: We Have to Think!
Chapter 4: The Professional Imperative: New Frameworks
Chapter 5: The Global Imperative: Optimizing Convergence
Chapter 6: The Existential Imperative: The Ends of Education
Chapter 7: Achievement with Integrity
Dennis Shirley is Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Educational Change.
"Every now and then that rare book is published that provides a dramatic new argument for a better future for our schools and society. The New Imperatives of Educational Change is such a game changer. Meticulously researched and persuasively argued, here is a book that marshals a wealth of new international evidence on behalf of a broad and humanistic education. It is essential reading for educators, policy makers, and the public."
—Linda Darling-Hammond, President and CEO, Learning Policy Institute and Charles E. Ducommun Professor Emeritus, Stanford University, US
"In this deeply humane book, doing what is right for students as whole and happy individuals, developing their gifts, skills and talents, comes first. But the picture is completed by finally acknowledging that in public education, the individual is not the only beneficiary. Creative, compassionate, critical thinkers are essential to a just and democratic society where all can live and thrive together. It’s more than a contribution to our economy. Dennis Shirley rejects the notion that we educate our children so that they can all get good jobs. We educate our children so that we can all live in a good society."
—Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association, US
"Dennis Shirley applies his prodigious knowledge and experience, and inventive mind to produce a powerful framework for understanding the past and shaping the future of educational change. His critique of existing ‘imperatives’ is incisive and devastating in exposing the fundamental flaws of system change models of the past 30 years. A refreshing and insightful read on a big topic."
—Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus, OISE/University of Toronto, CA