Author: Johnson, Larry Colvin
This conceptual study examines a seven year project designed to pursue systemic instructional change in a mid-sized, urban, public school district on the west coast of Canada. The project, which proceeded under the banner of “instructional intelligence,” was co-coordinated by the author and included advisement by an external consultant. Involving a conceptual framework related to the complex systems thinking of Edgar Morin, the dialogue of David Bohm, the communicative action and discourse ethics of Jurgen Habermas, the philosophical anthropology of Charles Taylor and Jean Gebser, the phenomenological and spiritual hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur and Henri Corbin, and the phronesis of Aristotle, this conceptual study seeks to identify the conditions of leadership under which the notion of systemic change will sustain and enhance a comprehensive framework for educative teaching and learning. Sources for the study include the author’s own narratives of experience, which constitute his participant-observer’s reconsiderations of reflective practices, collaborative actions, and dialogic interactions, particularly in relation to the practices of facilitating dialogue and deliberative decision making. Other sources involve hermeneutic, inter-textual, and heuristic comparisons from a wide range of literatures, including frequently-excluded discourses from such areas as medieval and renaissance cosmologies, Rosicrucian alchemy, Goethean science, Waldorf education, and archetypal and spiritual psychology. A rhetorical, heuristic comparison between an evolving framework for educative teaching and learning and an alchemical emblem published in Germany in 1616 is a prominent feature of the study’s methodology. The concept of emergence is central to the study. As a result of a thought experiment that includes narrative, conceptual, dialogical, and hermeneutic methods of inquiry, an enhanced framework for educative teaching and learning and the concomitant conditions of educative leadership emerge during the course of the study. Recommendations are made regarding the sustainability of the focus district’s initiative for systemic instructional change. Though the recommendations apply to the specific case, there is much potential for a more general application.
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Thesis advisor: Madoc-Jones, Geoff
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