Negotiating the Maze: The challenge of contemporary Australian learning landscapes
Robertson, M and Burston, M and Fluck, A, Negotiating the Maze: The challenge of contemporary Australian learning landscapes, AARE 2009 Conference Proceedings, 29 November - 3 December 2009, Canberra EJ (2010) [Refereed Conference Paper]
his paper refers to organisational theory to explore and explain weaknesses and strengths of systemic change. It draws from three case studies in Australian secondary schools to illustrate the fragile and unpredictable nature of change associated with the digital contexts of learning and teaching. Although computers have been part of Australia's educational landscape for more than twenty years, the evolution of digital pedagogy continues to be a work in progress. What is envisioned in policy and what is experienced 'on the ground' at school level where change is to be implemented are distinctively different assignments (Baskin and Williams, 2006; Beetham and Sharpe, 2007; Conole and Oliver, 2007; Galloway, 2008; McGregor Tan Research, 2008; Willoughby and Wood, 2008).
Critical to the transformation of Australian education is the identification of the nature and management of change processes to discover how specific change agents (school principals, teachers, students and research team members) mobilise change factors and events in situated contexts. Personal styles, pedagogical sensibilities, motivation and attitudes of learning and teaching agents are embedded, contested, confronted and challenged on a daily basis. Our view is that theory needs to be contextualised and co-constructed in a field where hearts and heads construct the terms and rules of learning, teaching and change. The theoretical argument reflects the complexities, compromises and challenges that arose from a recent ARC project in Australian secondary schools and will illustrate how informal and formal strategies and responses construct the conditions and possibilities of change. We seek to explain the change dynamic through an alternative theory adapted from 'maze' logic. Maze logic helps to conceptualise the nature of the ad hoc responses that are part of the daily rhythm of the learning spaces we know as 'schools'