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Sustained Educational Change: Interactive Participatory Processes

Tue, April 16, 5:00 to 6:30pm, Hyatt Regency, Floor: Atrium (Level 2), Waterfront D


When it comes to our years of working together on educational planning and implementation, Adams always emphasized that education planning without an implementation plan has no chance to materialize and will just be another piece of paper in a cabinet or a file in a computer, lost on some software that is no longer used. Adams rejected the technicist approaches to change which emphasize the traditional linear planning sequence of goal setting—needs assessment—program specification—target identification—evaluation. Instead, he promoted redefining the process of initiating and sustaining educational change as an interactive, participatory process which involves, and preferably begins with, critique, evaluation, analysis and feedback at the school and local levels. The book manuscript we worked on jointly was never published as Adams kept working on perfecting it. He was very critical of the international trend toward an exclusive reliance on detailed educational plans and mandates from the center. Especially in the treatment of educational policy and planning, he found that many of the contributors to the literature on planning flowing from international agencies over the decades ignored important planning questions. He claimed that substituting the words "policy" or "management" for planning, as it is popular to do in international education circles, doesn't get one off the hook. If planning is expected to result in change and not be merely a ritual required for international funding, then it must involve more than statistical testing of hypotheses. Moreover, understanding what people need and why they behave the way they do is unlikely to be clarified by one more rate-of-return study. He was constantly reconceptualization of the process of planning educational change.