Home' Teacher : October 2009 Contents 10 TEACHER OCTOBER 2009
Spiritual capital refers to the strength of
moral purpose and the degree of coherence
among values, beliefs and attitudes about
life and learning. While for some schools,
spiritual capital has a foundation in religion,
in other schools, it may refer to ethics and
values shared by members of the school and
its community. Financial capital refers to the
money available to support the school.
Building strength in each of these
domains and aligning them to secure success
for all students in all settings requires out-
standing governance which in turn requires
outstanding leadership. Our findings sug-
gested that governance is best seen as the
process through which the school builds its
intellectual, social, financial and spiritual
capital and aligns them to achieve its goals.
This view of governance is a breakthrough
because the practice is traditionally con-
ceived in terms of roles, authorities, respon-
sibilities and accountabilities. These are sim-
ply preconditions for effective governance.
There were two stages in the International
Project to Frame the Transformation of
Schools. The first yielded 10 indicators of
each form of capital and of governance.
The second was to conduct case studies of
schools that had been transformed in each
of the six countries that we studied. Since
we found the majority of the indicators in
practice in all of these schools, we're confi-
dent that we have a framework of concepts
and indicators that transcend international
boundaries, although the particular strat-
egies that have been implemented do, of
course, vary from setting to setting. Why
Not the Best Schools? includes a school self-
audit based on the 50 indicators.
How the findings have been taken up
We've been busy in the 12 months since
publication of Why Not the Best Schools?
The self-audit has been used on many occa-
sions in particular schools and in work-
shops for school leaders. We've developed
10 indicators of personalising learning.
Working with David Loader, we developed
10 indicators to assist a school self-audit
in the Futures-Focused Schools Project
of Teaching Australia. The framework in
Figure 1 was used in our report of develop-
ments in Australia that formed part of an
international project to assist the adminis-
tration of President Barack Obama in the
United States to determine a strategy to turn
around low-performing schools. Jessica
Harris is employing the framework to study
teacher education in Australia, China-Hong
Kong, Korea and Malaysia, reflecting the
importance of teacher education in build-
ing the intellectual capital of the profession.
Significantly, we have participated in
public debates on school reform in Aus-
tralia. The final chapter of Why Not the
Best Schools? contains a 10-point, 10-year
strategy for an education revolution that
affirms much of what the Commonwealth
government of Kevin Rudd is endeavour-
ing to achieve through 'new federalism'
partnerships with states and territories. We
have, however, taken issue with one strategy,
namely, national testing that leads to league
tables. If there is an over-arching concern it is
that 'new enterprise logic' has not taken hold
to any great extent and Australia may be
headed for more centralised and bureaucra-
tised approaches to controlling schools when
the focus should be on building the capacity
of all schools to be more autonomous within
a national framework, with the student being
the most important unit of organisation. T
Brian J. Caldwell is man aging director
of Educ ation al Transfor mations and
professorial fellow at the Unive rsity of
Melbourne where he ser ved as dean of
educ ation from 1998 to 2004.
Caldwell, B.J. (2006). Re -imagining
Educ ation al Leadership. Melbourne:
Caldwell, B.J. & Spinks, J.M. (2008).
Raising the Stakes. London: Routledge.
Caldwell, B.J. & Harris, J. (2008). Why
Not the Best Schools? Melbourne: ACER
Zuboff, S. & Maxmin , J. (2004). The
Support Economy. New York: Penguin .
The student is the
most important unit of
organisation -- not the
classroom, not the school
and not the school system.
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