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ERIC Number: ED526145
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 245
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-3850-6
Understanding Educational Change through the Lens of Complexity Science
Girtz, Suzann
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Gonzaga University
The purpose of this study was to investigate four attractor states in schools through the perceptions of formal leaders that engaged in and reflected upon school reform regarding the Millennial generation. The term attractor was used as a metaphor for a habitual pattern, gleaned from complexity science which informs of new ways in which to perceive change. The attractor states investigated for this study included architecture, student grouping, instructional design, and scheduling. In order to pursue this purpose, changes in high schools over the last ten years were investigated through the perspective of formal leaders and analyzed through the lens of complexity science. A single case study looked at changes in schools made to serve students in the Millennial generation, and examined how these changes inform high school reform within the attractor states. The case was set in a suburban school district in Washington State that contained four high schools. Educational leaders from the district and high school levels were included in interviews to complement case, which also drew on observations and documents to investigate the research questions centered on perceptions of Millennial learners and changes made to serve them in the attractors listed above. Findings indicated that the case district was making changes within all attractors while simultaneously maintaining traditional vestiges of architecture, student grouping, scheduling, and instructional design. While many of the changes noted occurred simultaneously with the presence of Millennial students at the high school level, the intentionality of the changes was unclear. Change tended to be on a scale that fit within, rather than across, attractors, and a factor emerged that might be investigated in the future as either a newly perceived attractor or a perturbation to the existing attractors: assessment. Evidence of leadership practices supported through the lens of complexity science was apparent, but not prevalent, in the district. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington