Sustainable Innovation in Exemplary Schools

By Larry Sackney and Keith Walker.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Much has been written about the need for both schools and leadership to be different from what they are today if we are to meet the challenges of the knowledge society. The impact of globalization, new technologies, and the need for a well-educated society has put pressure on educators to improve opportunities for student learning. Various restructuring attempts have met with minimal success. The traditional worldview of schooling, based on a mechanistic model, has not been able to meet the needs for this transformation. An ecological view of the natural, social, and educator orders; a turn toward community; the social aspects of learning; a concern for professional learning; an understanding of social innovation, self-organization and complexity; sustainable innovation; social networks; and an awareness of learning in the face of mystery—each hold the promise of creating a better understanding of what works and what should be given attention to in schools of the 21st Century.

In this paper we argue for an ecological and complexity worldview of the natural, social, and education orders. During the past four years we have studied learning community models and leadership and now present some of our findings. In particular, we focus on how exceptional learning community schools get their work done, how they transfer knowledge, how they evolve, the nature of leadership, and how effective communities of practice have been sustained.

Keywords: School Effectiveness, Ecological Perspectives, Professional Learning Communities, Organizational Learning, Exemplary Schools, Knowledge Transfer, Leadership

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 1, Issue 6, pp.179-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.825MB).

Dr. Larry Sackney

Professor, Department of Educational Administratin, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Professor Sackney has published extensively in refereed journals and has contributed numerous chapters in edited books. He co-authored a book entitled "Profound improvement: Building capacity for a learning community" and is presently working on a new book. His current research is focused on capacity building and knowledge management for learning communities. He, along with Keith Walker and Coral Mitchell, currently hold a major Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada research grant entitled "Building learning communities for the knowledge society."

Prof. Keith Walker

Professor, Educational Administration, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Professor Walker brings over thirty years of experience as a manager, teacher, minister, leader, scholar, and educational administrator in public and social sectors. His formal education has been in the disciplines of physical education, sports administration, theology, education, educational administration, and philosophy. Keith Walker has earned national and international awards for his research work. In addition to his research work with senior educational administrators in K-12 and tertiary education, In recent years, he has worked a great deal in the areas of building the learning community and the institutionalization of change. Professor Walker is currently working on a number of manuscripts dealing with subjects such as leadership perspectives on hope, building trust, school board governance, university presidents’ responses to the new economy, adult education policy, building appreciative schools and diligent leadership. Professor Walker has recently co-authored a book on leadership for Pacific Islanders with Dr. Kabini Sanga. Dr. Walker was on sabbatical leave in 2004-2005, as visiting professor at Centre for School Leadership at the University of British Columbia and at Azusa Pacific University in California.

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