Background and aim
Michael Fullan is Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto and policy advisor to the Minister of Education of Ontario. Before and during the pandemic, Fullan recommended using communication software to deliver necessary learning materials, maintain an emotional connection with families of various cultural backgrounds, and encourage collaboration to ensure equal access to education. This paper describes Michael Fullan’s contribution to education, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, by promoting cooperation, justice, diversity, identity, and action.
Diversity, justice, and Equal access to education
According to Hargreaves and Fullan (2020), many educational materials were made available online during the pandemic. Thus, they recorded additional videos and prepared helpful notes for children and their parents to elaborate on tasks and textbook information. Moreover, justice in education means providing high quality knowledge to all children so that they will be able to apply it for personal and social benefit in the future. In the longer term, connectedness and understanding in school produce better results than simply striving for better grades. Being an experienced researcher, educator, and thought leader, Michael Fullan continues consulting policymakers in this field to ensure that learners’ and teachers’ best interests are served. In one of his articles, Fullan presented a model of leadership in education that will be suitable not only for the realities of the pandemic but also for 21st-century teaching (Fullan, 2020). Specifically, he claims that educational systems should transform to linear leadership models, create a supportive school environment, and encourage collaboration between students and teachers (Fullan, 2020). Moreover, he introduced the idea that academic achievements are inferior to creating connectedness in classrooms, which produces better results in the longer term.
Respecting cultural identity
Although both teachers and parents usually strived for productive communication for the benefit of children, online education affected this aspect. The survey of educators showed that 60% felt emotionally disconnected from teaching because student engagement in classes dropped during lockdown (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2020). Hence, educational leaders had to develop effective networking methods by ensuring that all families’ questions and requests were appropriately addressed and disadvantaged groups were supported (Harris, 2020). Fullan (2018) claims that it is critical to respect the social identity of students and their families, ensure equal and just treatment regardless of their cultural background, and show active support. The COVID-19 crisis showed that educators, school leaders, and caregivers should change how they perceive teaching and communication to help students learn effectively under unexpected circumstances.
Action, collaboration, critical evaluation, and application for educators
Although the notion of individualism became an essential feature of the Western world, COVID-19 seemed to encourage collaborative learning and teaching. Indeed, Fullan and his colleagues presented a new and effective approach to cooperation and communication (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2020; Loose, 2019). This approach improved student outcomes and raised teachers’ satisfaction with work (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2020). A collaboration between school leaders and educators is believed to be essential amid the pandemic because it allows for knowledge sharing and experience exchange between experts, boosting educational results.
Fullan and his colleagues believed collaboration to be essential for withstanding external threats and challenges, and their strategy was found to be effective during the pandemic. For instance, educators of Heritage Elementary School in California used to hold a 50-minute meeting once a week before COVID-19, but they altered their schedules to daily 30-minutes online conferences (Pinchot & Fullan, 2021). This approach was helpful because teachers could review monitor students’ progress together (Pinchot & Fullan, 2021). Fullan’s ideas significantly boosted student performance in schools, strengthened cooperation between educators, and made education more culturally responsive and equal for all.
The findings of this research can be applied to my classroom and community in three specific ways. Firstly, online support groups for students should be organized. Secondly, schools should consider implementing decentralized and distributive leadership with moderate coordination from leaders, granting teachers more freedom. Thirdly, I suggest organizing daily 30-minute Zoom meetings for teachers and parents to discuss their children’s challenges and successes. Such communication will not only build trust between families and educators but will also help students succeed.
- Diversity, equal access to education, collaboration, and a supportive school environment.
- Fullan and his colleagues believed collaboration to be essential for withstanding external threats and challenges, and their strategy was found to be effective during the pandemic. For instance, educators of Heritage Elementary School in California used to hold a 50-minute meeting once a week before COVID-19, but they altered their schedules to daily 30-minutes online conferences.
Fullan, M. (2018). Surreal change: The real life of transforming public education. Routledge.
Fullan, M. (2020). The nature of leadership is changing. European Journal of Education, 55(2), 139-142. Web.
Hargreaves, A., & Fullan, M. (2020). Professional capital after the pandemic: Revisiting and revising classic understandings of teachers’ work. Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 5(3), 327-336. Web.
Harris, A. (2020). COVID-19–school leadership in crisis? Journal of Professional Capital and Community, 5(3), 321-326. Web.
Loose, W. (2019). Book review: Deep learning: Engage the world change the world. Journal of Catholic Education, 22(2), 122-127.
Pinchot, M., & Fullan, M. (2021). Testing sustainability: How strong school cultures meet (and beat) disaster. Web.