Driving Educational Change
A Q&A with Helen Janc Malone, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D.’13.
Helen Janc Malone has devoted her career to better understanding the future of education. She is director of education policy and institutional advancement at the Institute for Educational Leadership, and the author of Leading Educational Change, which looks at the latest research from around the globe. We talked with Malone about her new volume, Future Directions of Educational Change, which she edited along with fellow Ed School alum Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, Ed.M.’07, Ed.D
The last book, from 2013, was a bit of a survey for scholars from around the world about research. How is this new volume different?
Future Directions is designed to be both a deeper exploration of three themes from the first book — social justice, professional capital, and systems change — and a unique contribution that weaves the three areas together. This anthology features global perspectives that challenge the conventional approaches to educational change, such as how do we authentically blend issues of equity and justice in education, and how do we elevate the teaching profession.
In talking with scholars, what are some of the most powerful forces driving educational change today?
There are at least three that mirror the strands of this volume: addressing inequity, broadening discourse, and changing systems. We have a chapter in Future Directions book about New Zealand’s program to train a new generation of principals as change agents that can ad-dress issues of injustice head on. South African scholar Brahm Fleisch offers a chapter that challenges the global education conversation to move beyond American and European focus and expand to be inclusive of the challenges, opportunities, and innovations emerging in places like India, Kenya, and South Africa. Given that issues of justice, quality, and system-wide solutions are areas of debate across the globe, it stands to reason that looking beyond our own boundaries to other nations can offer new ideas and exchange that can enrich our understanding.
Obviously there is no silver bullet, but from your discussions with scholars, how do we go about making meaningful changes in education?
It is worth first considering that many countries across continents are engaged in extensive education reforms aimed, from the policy perspective, to improve access, quality, and outcomes of education. The question is, are all these policies leading to desired outcomes? Are they providing adequate resources, supports, proper accountability structures, time, and wide constituent engagement to make a real, positive difference for all learners? While there is no one right way to engage in educational change, our book offers several considerations, including the importance of addressing equity as the center of educational change and teacher ownership in the learning process.
What are you working on next?
I recently published The Growing Out-of-School Time Field: Past, Present, and Future, a book that offers an analysis from 39 domestic scholars and practitioners on how afterschool and summer learning have evolved over the past two decades and in what directions out-of-school time learning might be headed. I have also edited the first special issue of the Journal of Professional Capital and Community on broadening professional community through collaborative partnerships.