ERIC Number: ED215061
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Stories as a Strategy for Improving Urban Schools: Toward the Creation of a "Functional We".
Gray, Lynn H., Jr.; Deal, Terence E.
The concept of a functional "we" in a school setting and the idea that people who make up a school community relate school experiences and interpret school phenomena in the form of organizational "stories" provide the theoretical bases for a model to initiate strategies for school development and improvement. The functional "we" concept refers to school community members' perceptions of and reference to themselves as part of a single collective organization versus their identification with specific subgroups of students, teachers, administrators, and parents. Many school communities are characterized by the existence of isolated subgroups in which each of the members may be said to be "language/dialect-bonded," in that they share common perspectives, interests, responses, and behavior. The school stories that are told within the subgroups are limited by a group-based frame of reference and are usually fragmented. The fragments reinforce group isolation and mitigate against the emergence of a real school community "we," the collective identity without which no action for self-directed school improvement can take place. This collective identity may be created partially through a systematic and conscious process of shared storytelling from which clearly understood strategies for social improvement may emerge. (Author/MJL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March, 1982).