Process and Methodology

Strategic innovation for school organisational change

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A few excerpts from discussions (Swipe)

Making sense of all the research (swipe)

Insights from the research (swipe)

After the synthesis, research was compiled and broken down into themes, insights and barriers. The themes overlap to form insights, and there are common barriers within various insights which help us identify problem areas. The themes can be thought of as giving the insight context on a macro level. While the themes operate on a broader scale, the factors are the micro determiners to each insight. They could also be

called barriers to go from the current state to the ideal state. I tried to visualise the connections formed in the chart below (chart 1). After connecting insights with themes in the above map, I tried to see which factor/barriers were repeated the most (chart 2).

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Chart 1

Chart 2

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From chart 2 above and as visualised by the chart on the left, we understand that teacher motivations and teacher identity (not treated as professionals, low self-esteem, lack of confidence) are the barriers that are repeated the most. 

While talking to teachers and the research, it became very evident that teachers have very low confidence in themselves which probably directly affects their professional life. I decided to do some secondary research on teacher identity and motivation.

Co-designing

A few snapshots of secondary research (swipe)

“Teacher professional identity then stands at the core of the teaching profession. It provides a framework for teachers to construct their own ideas of ‘how to be’, ‘how to act’, ‘how to understand’ their work and their place in society. Importantly, teacher identity is not something that is fixed or imposed; rather it is negotiated through experience and the sense that is made of that experience”

 - Sachs, 2005

How might we design meetings, routines & the school culture to strengthen teachers identity and help them develop professionally?

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The next step was to understand School Culture or Organisational Culture. While doing secondary research, I came across a School Culture Typology Worksheet developed by Gruenert and Valentine which helps in mapping where the school lies on the culture spectrum. The activity was based upon the literature on school culture and specifically the work of Fullan and Hargreaves (1996) and Deal and Peterson (1999) who provided detailed, insightful descriptions about the culture types used for this activity. The goal of this activity is to provide educators with the opportunity to analyse and reflect on their school culture and take informed action to develop and maintain a more collaborative culture. After finishing the worksheet, it was very clear that the culture lies towards the left side of the spectrum whereas the goal is to be on the right side of the spectrum. 

“To improve your school culture, you must dig deep into the psyche of your organisation and figure out why certain actions or attitudes are entrenched. Often, such actions or attitudes are actually rewarded by a school’s culture, so any desirable new behaviours will need to be rewarded by the culture as well if they are to be sustained. Indeed, the effect of school culture on teacher and student behaviours cannot be understated’’

- School Culture Rewired, Steve Gruenert and Todd Whitaker

The final output consisted of a teacher and an admin toolkit. The breakdown of the toolkit is as follows -

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DEVELOPMENT WORKSHEETS

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ADMIN MANUAL

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Key Activities: Organisation Design | Service Design | Business Innovation Strategic Design | Visual Design 

Service and Organisational Design for Kidzee Preschool

Duration                        Client                                      Mentor

2 years                           Kidzee Preschool                   Kanhika Nikam

Brief

Outcomes

Kidzee by Zeelearn was started 8 years ago. It has over the years established itself as a trustworthy and quality preschool. Although in the past 7 years, the school has set a firm ground and gained a lot of experience, it still faces a few consistent challenges. 

 

My brief was to identify these challenges, understand them and design solutions in response to them. After a thorough research phase, two key problems stood out -

1. Lack of personal and professional development of teachers leads to low confidence and weak self-identity. 

2. Lack of trust between parents and teachers.

3. The above points contribute to a toxic organisational culture.

In a span of 1 and a half years, I worked on redesigning the services and the organisational culture of the preschool to address the challenges

In a span of 1 and a half years, I co-designed:

1. A personal and professional plan for teachers

2. A teacher's toolkit that consists of a journal and planner, a web application that supports the personal and professional plan and monitors learning and progress, worksheets for constant learning, prompts for group activities to increase collaboration and organisational culture. 

3. An admin toolkit that consists of an admin manual with strategies to strengthen culture and general management guidelines, a journal and planner and a web app. 

4. Services for increasing parent-teacher trust.

Additionally, I designed methods to measure organisational change and the impact of services designed and invited four subject matter experts to host events and design educational material for the teacher's development. 

Strategy

Contextualising the Definition

Design of actions by an agent who has an intent to implement and maximise it’s purpose

Strategic Innovation 

Contextualising the Definition

Kidzee Preschool

Enact with constancy of effort and commitment 

“The teachers are the single most important factor in determining the quality of the early childhood programme and yet is the most a neglected aspect of the education system”

After identifying several problem areas, we decided to narrow our scope down to focus on teachers. I conducted interviews with teachers, caretakers and the administration. I spoke to a few SME's in Children's Psychology, Early childhood Education and Teachers Training to get expert opinions. Techniques such as interviews, group discussions, fly on the wall, 5 whys, systems mapping and Master apprenticeship model were used to craft insights. 

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For the first month, I observed, explored and tried understanding the school's ecosystem. The school has 8 classrooms where I used to sit and spend time- noting interactions, experiences between the teachers and students. I tried to absorb and understand the daily routine of the stakeholders.

Primary Research Quotes 

Teachers, Parents and Caretakers 

© 2022 designed and developed by Aishwarya Jare 

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