J.Thousand and R.Villa 1995 developed a matrix, "as a way to conceptualise the process of complex change in an educational setting, and help those involved in implementing change to understand both the process and the ways in which their reactions to change might be understood." Analysis from Walking the Talk: Collaborating.


It is important to clarify a school's learning vision and goals. In relation to the Managing Complex Change matrix, no vision means no direction, no idea whether or not you have reached your destination, in fact - confusion.

A shared vision for learning describes what you want to achieve for your young people in a 21st Century school. Your school vision briefly describes how you will best meet the expected needs of your 21st Century learners.

In the case of Red Beach, they asked 'What is it that we want our school to stand for?' For more see their digital story Developing a Vision for Red Beach School in the School Stories area of New Zealand Curriculum Online.

Trevor Bond comments, "Many schools who are in the process of reviewing or re creating their vision as the first step of curriculum development are using the question. If a child enters this school at age 5 and stays till the end of year 6, what do we want to achieve for that child?"

The vision must be developed, reviewed and owned by everyone - key stakeholders such as staff (both teaching and non-teaching), students, parents, trustees and the wider community, so that everyone has a collective responsibility to see this through to fruition.

As Barth describes:
"Nothing so professionalises work in schools as educators who create within the schoolhouse visions of good education. Everyone who works in a school is not only entitled to a unique and personal vision of the way he or she would like the school to become, but has an obligation to uncover, discover and rediscover what the vision is and contribute it to the betterment of the school community."
Barth, R. (1990) Improving Schools From Within.

Does everyone in your school own the vision?

Greg's weblog entry asks, "In how many schools can you walk up to each teacher separately, ask this question, and expect a similar response? I doubt there are 100 schools in the country where this would happen." What theory of learning drives your school? - Oct 13, 2007

So here are some questions:
  • What is the guiding vision?
  • What are the drivers for this change?
  • Does it provide valid goals and objectives?
  • What are these goals and objectives?
  • Is it a shared vision? has everyone bought into these?
  • Are these goals achievable, measurable and manageable?
  • Are these "goal posts" shifting? Is the scope of the project, your goals and objectives, changing?
Taken from Educational Origami - Managing Complex Change.

What are your beliefs about learning?
Use these learning statements to find out what your learning community thinks about learning. Make comparisons between your groups - teachers, students, parents.

A concentric circle diagram from the work of Dr Julia Atkin can help both individuals and schools create a vision based on core values, beliefs, principals and practices. In her paper, From Values and Beliefs about Learning, she shares a story of a principal who led a process to identify and clarify values and beliefs of the community. "These then form the basis for developing a set of principles or guidelines which guide conduct or action", (pg 3).

The next stage would be to develop strategic plans and action plans to enable the school vision to come to reality.