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A Creative Solution for Schools in a Post-Pandemic Environment (PART 3 of 3)

[This article is the third of a three-part series. Part 3 looks at the impact of a self-directed learning philosophy on elements of a school's culture.]

On May 7, 2020, Anya Kamenetz published this article on NPR.org titled A Few Schools Reopen, But Remote Learning Could Go On For Years In U.S.. Her article argues that schools "play a range of roles in society beyond education" and are "a cornerstone of any attempt to reopen the economy". She highlights some of the logistics of reopening a school in a pandemic, including how remote and in-person learning points to a sudden need for "personalized learning" - a controversial topic in education.

This is where a self-directed learning philosophy can help support these necessary changes.

However, implementing such a shift is more than changing a few practices. The key principle in applying a new philosophy into elements of culture is that no one program will implement one way in all schools. Like people, every school and district will require different needs and utilize different resources in different ways. The goal of my article below is to highlight how schools can address organizational culture with intention in order to adopt - and adapt - a self-directed learning philosophy.


Elements of Culture

A major part of my research has been to determine which elements of culture are most responsible for adopting and adapting a new philosophy into a school setting. I've come to favor a particular basis for identifying and addressing Seven Elements of Culture. I posit that the following Seven Elements of Culture, adapted for this purpose, provide the necessary reflection to adopt and adapt a self-directed learning philosophy into schools.

7 Elements of Culture
Model adapted from "Organizational Culture - Change and It's Management" (Dhiman, 2014)

Element 1: Government.

Shifting a school's learning philosophy is a big decision. It is the exception, not the rule, that one teacher in one classroom can enact organizational change. Organizations typically have processes for decision-making which is reflected in their government structure. What is important to note is the connection between decision-making structures and the political perspectives of those in leadership positions.

Rarely does a school leader take an extreme perspective toward decision-making. More often, leaders are closer to the middle of a spectrum balancing secur