Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa


Vol. 11, Num. 1, 2009

Educational Change Process
at an Elementary School of the Arts

María Teresa Muñoz Quezada
mtmunoz@ucm.cl

Departamento de Psicología
Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud

Universidad Católica del Maule

Av. San Miguel, 3605, VII Región
Talca, Chile

(Received: March 11, 2007; accepted for publishing: July 16, 2008)

 

Abstract

This article presents a qualitative research conducted at a municipal school in the South of Chile. The education change process at said institution is described and interpreted based on the growth and stability of the school, product of the new and definitive infrastructure acquisition. Results show how directors, professors, representatives and students live the process differently. The fear for reconstructing a new identity, the desire for recovering the school’s ethos as well as professors, representatives, new and older student’s conflicts were observed, apart from the search for the conciliation between the modern world demands and the educational project.

Key words: Educational change, educational improvement, educational facilities improvement, school culture.

 

Introduction

Nowadays, education institutions in Chile as well as in Latin America are centered on the search for identity and dialog spaces which distinguish them within every social context for their own cultural contents. On the other hand, they have the challenge of looking for spaces that equally support the development and achievement of students’ quality competencies, taking into consideration the different axes of teaching intervention and then express them as fundamental and transversal objectives (Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean -United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization [ECLAC-UNESCO], 2004 Holm-Nielsen, Thorn and Prawda, 2004; Chilean Ministry of Education [MINEDUC], 2005; Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD].

On the other hand, western society demands constant modernization of schools, as far as technology and teaching resources are concerned, as well as the constant modification of curricula contents. This implies, explicit or implicitly, knowledge and skill learning adjustments based on nowadays market needs as well as social and political demands, either they are national or international (Bellei, 2004; Casassus, 2002; CEPAL-UNESCO, 2004; Di Prieto, 2002; Matsuura, 2000; OECD, 2004; Venegas, 2005). In this sense, a school is expected to teach from the elaborated codes which represent the economic and social changes, and which represent the groups that have a greater access to material means and cultural knowledge (Bernstein, 1990; 1997).

In this context, a question arises on the institutions that face these constant change circumstances, but still preserve the institutionalism of a municipal school; without considering the fact that they are located in municipalities where educational communities have developed little research, since studies are centered on capitals or large industrialized cities generally.

The main purpose of this research was to conduct a descriptive -interpretative study, from an ethnographic perspective, on an elementary school of the arts,1 which was located in a municipality of the center of the South of Chile. The intention was to get to know closely the educational change process that this school experienced, which was product of the modernization of the infrastructure, technology, and material resources, as well as a consequence from the cultural changes of the school when it evolved from an institution that just taught arts to a school with a regular curricula with a specialty of arts. In order to keep the institution as well as the people who conforms it anonymously, some background data that could reveal their identity will be omitted.

The importance of this research is centered mainly on generating a space for discussion and meta-reflection on the change processes that said education community experienced, and getting to know how that school rebuilt its history in order to adjust itself to social and educational changes by fostering its mission and objectives in favor of students’ development and education in its cultural context.

 

I. Theoretical Framework

1.1 Change Process in the Educational Institution

When a school is observed as an open social system, it can be established that all of its goals and activities set and carried out within the different sub-systems that constitute it influence on the achievement of the main objective of every educational institution: to achieve the most complete education for its students (Katz and Kahn, 1999). From this perspective, it is worth mentioning that the educational system is an organic group, which integrates political procedures and services, and which expects to guarantee the educational process unity at the formal and informal levels by fostering its continuity for the rest of peoples ‘lives (King, 2006).

From what has been mentioned above, there exists the idea that educational systems are inserted into the country’s political, cultural, social, and economic organization context; thus, the structure originated from it is influenced by these factors. Also, it must be added that every educational system is conditioned by its people’s history, political thinking, society’s structure, and the levels of development achieved through the different areas of a nation’s life; for instance, culture, scientific and technological development, arts, the influence of other cultures, among others.

The challenge of human development in our culture, as stated by Kliksberg and Tomassini (2000), as far as the organization of demand for modernization according to the subjectivity of individuals within our society is concerned, is related explicitly to how these factors of change and renewal of our educational system are immersed by this cultural approach of generating a controlled sensation of well being, and , on the other hand, individuals who demand change and reformulations from the intersubjective plan of our schools.

When the research on the change of a social organization is set forth, systemic organizational properties must be included, beyond the individual change that every subject experiences; in other words, the change process in the institution conformed by a group of individuals that constitute it shall be researched and described (Katz and Kahn, 1999).

Educational changes occurred at objective and subjective levels (Etkin and Schvarstein, 2000; Fullan and Stiegelbauer, 2000). So the objective solidness must be known, the well intended changes failure must be researched, the principles that allow understanding the nature and feasibility of particular changes must be studied, and the status quo realities must be considered, as well as their depth and assessment. Besides, change must be understood as a complex process within the entire educational organization as well as within the different sub-systems that constitute it.

1.2 Schools and Paradigm Changes within the Current Legislation


According to Alvariño, Arzola, Brunner, Recart and Vizcarra (2000), school management is a key element for quality performance essentially if it is related to the decentralization of powers at the educational institutions.

If centralization, formalism, and segmentation are understood as part of the classical model of the organization of the State; thus, of education—which influenced greatly on its social integration and national identity in the past; nowadays, the paradigmatic change on education invites to innovation and process implementation that result in a deep revision of the model of the educational system management (Alvariño, et al., 2000; Casassus, 2002; UNESCO, 2005).

Decentralization, the substitution of detail programming for strategic and administrative orientation, as well as result control, are new characteristics of effective educational institutions (Fullan and Stiegelbauer, 2000; Stewart and Kagan, 2005). At the same time, this is influenced by the school culture that promotes it and by the social reality in which the school is inserted, which is based on the education community’s challenges and demands; it is capable of innovating and reformulating the organization.

According to the authors mentioned before (Alvariño et al., 2000; Caassus, 2002; Fullan and Stiegelbauer, 2000; Stewart and Kagan, 2005), the social changes that affect school performance today are: globalization, world economy, increasing mass media influence, everyday greater social segmentation, and an individual vision among subjects and not from groups.

Obviously these factors influence schools from the different age and cultural groups of our country. Consequently, it is not estrange to observe when trying to meet the demands, as far as managing, planning, and administration are concerned, that directors and professors get disoriented with the variety of goals set and which must be achieved, when attempting to find the institution’s identity which has been lost and must be rescued. The idea is to keep in mind that an educational institution should have horizons and it should manage collectively a new plan that allows the mysticism and the sense that have been looked for so long and that allow it to be what it is.

In this context, this work was structured; it was oriented to get to know the change experienced by the education community of an elementary school of the arts, within today’s society and considering the world and country demands, and above all the demands of those who are directly involved.

 

II. Methodology

2.1. Methodological Design

Methodology consisted of a qualitative research based on a descriptive-interpretative design. It was based on an ethnographic approach, which is understood as a descriptive study of a school culture and some fundamental aspects about it (change process), from the perspective of a global comprehension on it (Aguirre, 1997).

2.2. Sample

2.2.1 A Brief Background of the Institution


The educational institution had, by the time of the study, 28 years working. Until 1999, it worked as an artistic talent school only. It had students from other different schools who attended it after their regular classes.

The workshops offered at it were music, artistic expression, and theater. These courses were included in the curricula contents after the school turned into an elementary school with a specialty of arts in the year 2000. Likewise, the school was recognized for training outstanding musicians and painters, at regional and national level, and who attended it.

It is important to mention that it was a municipal school from the beginning, and its foundation and creation was in charge of its director who still was the same in the year 2005. He founded and promoted the school’s educational project during all those years.

Before the new infrastructure, the institution had six different buildings sponsored by the municipality where it belonged to. The new facility was earned as a result from its improved educational project; it became one of the first area schools that was created and built at a curriculum and facility level to develop and promote arts, with the intention of then extending to secondary education and at the end of the cycle the students could obtain a specialty according to the area that they chose.

By the time of the study, the school offered up to the eighth grade of elementary education.2 Up to the fourth grade of elementary, it had two courses per level, with 35 students each. The school had 420 students. It had a parent’s center with legal status and they were representatives. Besides the compulsory specialties, other extracurricular workshops were offered such as embroidery, folklore, comics, film, and dance for students, as well as painting and folklore for representatives. These changes in the facilities and the human resources represented a great challenge, due to the fact that from one year to the other the number of students increased from 20 to 35, and the number of teachers from 12 to 24. Also, one assistant director was incorporated and new and highly specialized facilities were developed for the different cultural and art activities. This developed great expectations within the community as well as in the region.

2.2.2 Unit of Analysis

Four categories of participants who were part of the education community were selected:

  1. Students: 29 eighth grade students out of a population of 376 were selected. This group was chosen since it was the one with the students who had stayed longer at school, and they experienced education from the moment it was constituted a school with a regular and arts curriculum.
  2. Teachers: the director, two art teachers (one painting teacher and a music teacher), and two elementary teachers (one who started to work the moment it had a regular curriculum and another one who recently started to work) were selected out of 23 teachers.
  3. Representatives: two representatives out of the 376 were chosen (one whose son, a fourth grader, enrolled since the school had a regular curriculum and another one whose son was enrolled at first grade the year this study was conducted).
  4. A graduate student and student’s parent: the graduate student studied from 1987 to 1997 when the school didn’t have a curriculum with a specialty of arts. Nowadays, he’s the parent of one first grade student at the school who enrolled the year this study was conducted.

2.3. Information Gathering

Information gathering lasted four months and it consisted of the following stages:

  • Contact the institution: Authorization was requested to conduct the research. The institution was informed on the study to be conducted, its objectives, relevance, and the contributions to the institution.
  • Unsystematic observations and informal interviews were done to set the context background of the educational institution under study.
  • Interviews with the director, teachers and representatives were conducted.
  • Autobiographical stories of the students were carried out.
  • The research process was closed.

2.4. Techniques and Instruments

The used techniques were the following:

  • Unsystematic observations and informal interviews were conducted which were exploratory in character with the purpose of selecting the sample, gaining the participant’s trust, getting to know the education community and setting the topics of the interviews.
  • Profound interviews with the director in three stages: a) building the story of the school; b) the reflection of the school today and tomorrow; c) the assessment of the current change process.
  • Semi- structured interview sessions with teachers and representatives.
  • Autobiographic documents written by students with the purpose of generating a space for the expression of needs and their relation to the change process experienced.

The instruments used were field notes and registry notes mainly.

As far as the contents of the interviews are concerned, they were conducted with an interview script, which was elaborated according to the initial observations and included the following topics:

  • School History.
  • Important changes experienced by the interviewee from his/her arrival to the present year.
  • Participation in school development.
  • Changes perceived from this year.
  • Change start.
  • Participation in the current change.
  • Participation of other people from and without the institution.
  • Positive aspects of change.
  • Negative aspects of change.
  • In relation to the school climate.
  • In relation to school culture (beliefs, meanings, and values).
  • In relation to communication among the director, teachers and representatives.
  • In relation to the director and teacher’s management.
  • Quality perception of teaching and academic results, before and after changes occurred.
  • Personal perception of the change experience (thoughts and feelings developed by the education community).
  • Main difficulties faced and main benefits.
  • School -community relation after changes.
  • Authority relationships after changes.
  • Personal perception of the change process related to the institution’s objectives.
  • Perception of the school’s future.

This topic’s script was used also to orient the codification and categorization of the analysis of the interviews and the autobiographical stories.

2.5. Information Analysis

An analysis was conducted before and after information gathering considering the main topics mentioned before. They were categorized according to what the participants answered and to the theoretical background.

 

III. Results

The results from the director’s interviews will be presented first; secondly, the results obtained from the teachers’ interviews; in the third place the results from the autobiographical documents written by the eighth grade students. Then, the analysis of the interviews from the representatives will be described, and finally the vision of the graduate student.

a) The change process according to the elementary school director

The fact of having started 28 years ago the school project had a special meaning for the director. He valued positively the work and dedication of those who were part of the school at the beginning. He expressed the education community’s constant effort was sustained and it did not vanished as time went by, he acknowledged the participation of the teachers, representatives and children who had allowed the existence of the project.

He visualized the faculty as a solid and quality work team; he defined it before the construction of the new facility as a heroic team that was devoted to teaching. It was perceived that the director had been a great leader, and he considered the institution part of his life and he strongly identified with it and cared for it.

He expressed that there had been constant changes in the school’s infrastructure and resources. In 1986, he experienced the change of the school from a fiscal school to a municipal school,3 at that time he experienced the first possible risk of disappearance of the school. He attributed the school permanence to its students, teachers and representatives. The school had experienced a fight for constant creativity in order to remain open and updated. Close human relationships among the director, teachers and students were part of the school.

Another important change, and it constituted the new school, was the change from an artistic talent school to an art school with a regular curriculum; in order to avoid its disappearance in the year 2000. New teachers were hired and the first encounter of different world visions of the teachers who managed the project occurred.

He considered that the school was at a constant adjustment process as far as its change for an art school with new curricula was concerned. He perceived that the school had grown with infrastructure of its own, which in the present is highly specialized; this was needed in order to change from being itinerant to a well established school with new facilities of its own, and from being a school without resources to the most sought-after project by all the social groups of the community. He expressed it was one of the most significant changes that he had ever experienced as a director. From that moment on, he considered that one must change his or her way of thinking, nowadays one must think big.

On the other hand, he stated that certain difficulties had been encountered and which had been derived from the new infrastructure such as more time spent at the director’s office; conflict situations among some old and new teachers; greater complexity not only for the facility’s size (maintenance), but also for the teacher-student relationships; problems when using the facilities and resources; teachers had been stressed and they had more work to do, teacher-student relationships were less close. Regarding the latter, he suggested on working it with all the staff.

As far as his perception of the school’s future was concerned, he considered it a solid school, and a school that would train artists at national and even international levels, and which would offer secondary education and provide students with a certificate of secondary education with a specialty of arts. He foresaw it with an integrated faculty, as well as committed students for life. Also, he perceived it in the near future with a variety of projects, more resources and specialties, as well as an institution transformed into a model school in a short time.

b) Change according to teachers

Teachers expressed encountered feelings and differences when referring to the school bond. The oldest teachers perceived school change as complex. They missed the school that allowed them to have good relationships and to get in touch with students and other teachers as well, in spite of the fact that its functioning was unstable and it was not as modern as it is in the present time.

Art teachers who worked at the school before it changed into an elementary school considered that the most important change was the acquisition of the new facilities which had allowed them to stay in one place without moving from one place to another. They mentioned that before it, the school had a constant risk of disappearance, and in fact that was the reason why it turned into an elementary school. However, it has become a paradox, because since then they have faced a more complex school and conflicts among the new and older teachers; consequently, the school warmth which existed before it had turned into an elementary school has been affected. This fact is expressed by the student relationships and the increased importance given to regular performance and teaching instead to arts.

Also, they considered that the fact of moving to the new facilities increased problems related to relationships and school climate, since individualized instruction was lost since the number of students and spaces also increased. On the other hand, they perceived new teachers were less committed since they did not know the school’s history and the climate it had before, when the entire community participated in students’ education.

Teachers from the regular program expressed differently. The oldest teacher from this program had a vision as complex as the one that art teachers had; however, new teachers had a more optimistic and simple vision of their participation at school.

The oldest teacher of the regular program considered that the positive aspect of change was the new facility, since during the four years that he or she had been at the school, it moved from one place to another, and facilities had different health conditions. This teacher mentioned that his/her initial perception of the school was a positive one, but it started to change when referring to interpersonal relationships among teachers and directors. He or she perceived that his/ her oldest peers showed little appreciation for the role and work of teachers from the regular program. Although this kind of conflicts already existed, the modern infrastructure had resulted in the increased number of problems related to relationships and school climate.

Also, he/ she expressed that change had brought the disorientation of older students. They perceived that the initial project had changed and they thought it didn’t have neither a good management nor clear objectives. He/she considered that they have been re-elaborating their identity according to their school sense of belonging, and he/she had noticed more dissatisfaction than satisfaction.

Other factors that worried him were: the incorporation of new professors who were less committed, the need to create new positions, the little recognition of the role that teachers played and the lack of teachers’ training to face the new challenges. He/she considered that the education community should have been better prepared for change.

On the other hand, the most recent teacher from the regular program, mentioned that the most important changes he perceived compared to the other schools where he had worked before were: working at a school with fewer students, with a good school climate, good teacher relationships, highly committed teachers who did their job; no class interruptions, respect among the faculty members and the students; a director who was an excellent manager. He/she recognized that he could have observed a municipal school with small problems and with the conditions to teach “this school is a cup of milk, comparing it with those I have been, and with most of the schools in general, I think”.

He/she considered the new, modern and permanent facilities a positive change: from being old and deteriorated the school turned into a beautiful school with facilities of its own, with administration staff, faculty, and students who are kind and committed to the educational project, high student performance, students who are preoccupied for learning. The negative facts that he or she perceived were few though mainly related to the little commitment of some representatives and the difficulties with some new students who were aggressive, but they were very few. On the other hand, he/she mentioned the lack of resources such as a library, as well as the lack of teachers who were specialists; for instance, English or physical education specialists and he/she observed the need to foster sports.

Teachers expressed different appraisals on the school’s future. The old art teachers wanted it to become a great art school, but they perceived that if actions were not taken anytime soon the school could turn into a common one, and that was their greatest fear. The oldest teacher of the regular program perceived it a common school in the short time. Finally, the new teacher perceived it a school with great challenges, a school that would develop artistic talent, a project in the correct track, and its success depended on its students, representatives and teachers who had to work together to prevail over time.

c) Change experienced by students

The oldest students at school expressed almost the same as oldest teachers did. The school being bigger, prettier and properly equipped was perceived as a positive change when compared to its other facilities. They showed a wellbeing sensation since they felt that the school had been consolidated and it had no longer the risk of disappearing. They appreciated their teachers’ effort who had been trying to make the most of the change.

However, they expressed that they had been experiencing an adjustment process, they perceived that the good school climate had been lost as well as the sense of welcome which used to characterize the school before; they mentioned that the older facilities invited to share since they were reduced spaces. They considered the new infrastructure as cold, with lots of concrete, little ground and too big, which did not allowed closeness. The following discourse of an old female student summarizes the previously mentioned:

Nowadays, we are at the new building. Several classmates are gone. Now every student is to each his own. We only are together during break time. In the afternoons, the theater shouts no longer are heard, nor the music from the school guitar room. I don’t know the teachers. Now, there is an assistant director and one teacher responsible for discipline, before we didn’t have those. There is no ground in the patio, only concrete and plants are in flowerpots. Now, we’re more comfortable, but it’s no longer the same family environment we were used to.

They expressed that they liked better the school in the past, they considered it had a better school climate before, a more friendly and kind one. On the other hand, they perceived the entrance of new teachers as negative, since they were afraid that they might take away the school’s nature, because they might not comprehend its functioning or the value of the close interpersonal relationship that existed before.

On the other hand, new students’ opinions were alike to those of new teachers. They expressed interest for participating and integrating to the school; they liked the school and the curriculum; what they liked the most was the opportunity of developing art competencies. They mentioned that the school offered a friendly environment, and a sense of wellbeing that they did not perceived at other schools. They perceived teachers as friendly, committed to their work, and they thought they taught well. They perceived their classmates as good people; they did not bully or play jokes to others. Regarding the negative aspects of change, they expressed they had perceived certain discrimination from older teachers and students because of the fact of being new; however, they did not expressed it directly but when they complained about the new infrastructure. On the other hand, they perceived the facilities as small, when they compared them to other schools where they came from. The previously mentioned can be observed in the following discourse expressed by a new female student:

I feel pretty comfortable at this school, teachers are very friendly and they teach well, my friends are very nice people; besides, in here, I’m developing art skills and that’s really good, I hope to keep this way.

Finally, students perceived that the school’s future depended on fostering interpersonal relationships, developing a friendlier environment at school and integrating new students to the art project.

d) Experience from the representatives

As far as the representatives are concerned, the new representative was more critical than the oldest one. The latter was more involved affectively speaking with the school’s project. The new representative showed that he or she was happy with the fact of belonging to the school, because he or she believed that many ideas could be developed to meet the challenge of turning the school into a well known institution; however, on the other hand, he or she was upset about the fact that there was not much discipline on behalf of the other teachers with the students. Also, he or she was afraid about the fact that the school could become common, but he or she thought it depended on the representatives to build a future for their children. He or she perceived the infrastructure a positive change; nevertheless, he or she considered that it made the school a cold environment when referring to kindness; this can be observed on his/her speech:

I think this is a place that allows having more materials; there are classrooms to develop better activities; there is a great school music room, but to what point does infrastructure allow us to feel integrated into school?

In this sense, he or she expressed that the school needed to improve the communication among the different levels, mainly professor-representative, and representative-representative. Also, it had to improve the school’s organization when taking care of children. It was very permissive. It must integrate new representatives, and foster among them arts.

The oldest representative expressed she felt happiness and fear for change. She felt happy for her son being able to accomplish what she could have not and she would have liked to experience it. She was happy about the change and proud of being part of the project, but she was worried for the teachers and representatives who might affect the project if they did not know how to work together. She perceived the curriculum a main strength:

The aim of training great people, who are complete, thanks to arts, music, of helping them to become better people, good human beings, but at the same time with the taste for music, art History, but at the same time they are taught the knowledge I could not have when I was little.

She considered that the factors that could be improved were comparisons between new and old students, the incorporation of more musical instruments for the students and the addition of compulsory dance courses.

The new representative would like to see it like a new quality teaching institution, which offeres personalized attention and arts, above all, although he/she perceived it with those qualities in a future; he or she also visualized it very competitive, with little personalized attention and human sensitivity. He or she expected the representatives to help teachers to have the school everyone dreams, where everyone expected their children not only to be artists and students, but good people also. He or she believed that the school aimed at improving interpersonal relationships within it, if this was finally achieved, the school would be even better.

The oldest representative perceived a future with a great trajectory, with national recognition, with children who competed outside Chile and in different regions. It did not matter if it was his/her child or not, but he/she saw a well recognized school.

e) Change from the perspective of the graduate student

The graduate student considered that the change allowed a more solid school, with an educational project that was related to what it taught, which grew, from being a school of talents, into an elementary school of the arts with a possibility of offering secondary education in the future. That meant that it would be the first Chilean lyceum of the arts. He or she found incredible the achievement made by the school, which was a project envied even by universities. He or she perceived that the director had been a great project manager; he or she admired him and recognized a great friendship. He or she perceived old teachers, students, and representatives as more committed to the art project.

He or she liked and dislike the change at the same time. He/she felt positive about the fact of becoming a lyceum of the arts, and that the students could get their certificate, but he or she was afraid that public and private institutions would take advantage over it and influence negatively in the project. He or she considered that the school offered a great quality teaching which was reflected on the human spirit, the great talents that had graduated and keep graduating, and on the good performance that elementary students had shown on the national quality evaluations.

Regarding the school’s future, the graduate student had a highly positive vision on the school’s achievements and advances. He or she saw it a well-positioned school in the region as well as in the country, even at an international level: I perceive it endless and I want it and I see it, but the world can be so relative, but definitively the school’s future is endless.

 

IV. Discussion

The school that was described above experienced a change that affected directly its ethos, which can be understood as the distinctive seal of the organization. It is extremely important to consider changes based on what the community defines and presents as effective and necessary for its surroundings (Mellor and Chapman, 1989).

These changes are expressed specifically as follows: the stability of having a facility and infrastructure of its own, more pedagogical support materials, specialized classrooms according to the learning area, increased number of students and faculty members, new job positions, new norms and regulations. Consequently, changes are also expressed on the arousal of new beliefs, meanings, and expectations of the school’s community that is in process of adjustment between its own expectations and needs, the representations that arise from a community and the demands of the state as well as the education policies related to modern quality teaching, which develops little talents that promote art and culture within the municipality and the country.

Taking into consideration what Fullan and Stiegelbauer (2000), as well as Etkin and Schvarstein (2000) proposed, it can be observed within the institution that there are various ways of change appraisal and understanding. Apparently, each actor involves his own motivations and beliefs related to the common project. It is perceived that the community is under an evident process of adjustment, derived mainly from the increased number of issues related to interpersonal relationships and the school environment.
Among the problems that need to be solved as quick a possible are: conflicts between teachers, teachers’ professional development, number of work hours and team organization; strategy development to take care of the teachers; functions’ reorganization, strengthening the bond and commitment to the school’s project, the development of new spaces to meet the different school’s sub-systems and foster the director’s management.

When revising the results, it is perceived that the director carried out a charismatic leadership with paternalistic features, he also showed an effective leadership due to the achievements centered on interpersonal relationships and his work. It must be considered that nowadays in the context of the amendment4 (MINEDUC, 2005), leadership is no longer ascribed to one person but to a group. Collaboration, joint learning, integration, decentralization, delegation, purpose, and shared vision or mission are facts and concepts that are mentioned nowadays and related to leadership (Delannoy, Alcorn, Caldwell, Franey and Rameckers, 2003).

In this sense, it is perceived that the director carried out the right style of leadership needed for the project, and which could fail at any time; however, now that it has been consolidated, a new management style must be developed taking into consideration that the institution has grown stronger, and that not only teachers and representatives must be integrated but also new generations, in order to change the idea between the old and the new ones, who may develop a culture based on distrust and competition, which, apparently, have started to develop.

Different perspectives from teachers, representatives and students prevail, in which can be perceived that a great part of their representations were more related to the school systems were they came from. The most important difference was related to culture and school climate. In this sense, it is highly important to consider what they call everyone’s dream: to be a school of the arts which is positioned in the education and culture environment of the region and country. A good example for solving issues and develop change positively could be the improvement of the communication systems, informal and formal ones, to listen more, to promote culture and leisure activities which invite to the dialogue and help to define who we are, this is what school’s culture is (Martínez-Otero, 2003). On this regard, it is considered necessary to develop an explicit and intended encounter of the experience culture (Molina and Sandoval, 2006) between those teachers and students who have been for a long time at school and those who are new and who have experienced change. The purpose is to overcome the school’s climate obstacles and rebuild together school’s culture.

Also, more dialogue activities should be carried out that allow overcoming the barrier the school has built upon the results of the quality teaching assessment system (SIMCE), as well as representatives’ meetings.

On the other hand, it is important to consider the change processes experienced by all the educational institutions in Chile. Since more globalized teachers, students and directors are demanded, who will become part of a foreign market and culture model, so it is important to rethink the school concept based on what it is expected from it before the new educational challenge, from the perspective of its own cultural context, without forgetting the demands that constitute it and allow its existence in the present educational model.

In conclusion, an institution that actively participates in educational and social changes, based on its roots, history and project, is a solid institution that prevails over time and which is capable of developing new ideas for the country’s project. The school that was presented here experienced the typical conflicts of every school, such as teachers’ conflicts, communication difficulties, conflicts between new and older generations. However, it broke new ground on the wrongly imposed outlines of Chilean education such as segregation and exclusivity within the social context. It is a school for everyone.

The most important fact is that teachers, parents, and representatives aim at a common idea or mission: an integral and equal education for everyone at school, within the context of arts and human sciences.

 

References

Aguirre, A. (1997). Etnografía. In A. Aguirre (Ed.), Etnografía (Metodología cualitativa de la investigación sociocultural) (pp. 3-20). Mexico: Alfaomega-Marcombo.

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Translator: Eleonora Lozano Bachioqui

UABC Mexicali

1In Chile, an elementary school of the arts is a school which offers elementary education and has students that study an elementary education curriculum at the same time they do a curriculum of arts. The latter shall offer at least two art courses such as: dance, visual arts, music, literary arts, among others.

2Chilean elementary education comprehends the cycle of compulsory primary education of other countries. Students must attend elementary (primary) school for eight years divided into two cycles of eight levels or grades. Students are between 6 and 13 years old.

3Chilean schools managed and supervised by the State were called fiscal schools. Since 1980, fiscal schools turned into municipal schools, though they were still subsidized and supervised by the State. From that moment, they were called municipal schools.

4Chilean education amendment comprehends the process that started in the 90’s. Its objective was to adapt education to the world context changes. To this purpose, it was proposed the updating of the educational contents, the improvement of quality, and the increased access and decentralization to/of education.

Please cite the source as:

Muñoz, M. T. (2009). Educational Change Process at an Elementary School of the Arts. Revista Electrónica de Investigación Educativa, 11 (1). Retrieved month day, year, from: http://redie.uabc.mx/vol11no1/contents-quezada.html