Towards a framework for educational change : state deregulation, citizen empowerment, and strategic partnership : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis is an interweave of global, national, and local issues. It is about the nature of motivation that turns dissatisfaction with the status quo in teacher education into action for change. It is also about the opportunity for change to occur. Themes, both top-down and bottom-up, relate to new perspectives in the field of Development Studies including development from below, the retreat of the slate, empowerment, and community motivation. The study focuses on innovation in teacher education, and views the activities of three institutions as one 'project'. The study investigates circumstances of change within the context of the local scene and international trends. Recent literature seems to indicate decreasing involvement of the state in many facets of everyday life has resulted in a range of commercial and social responses. A number of driving forces are involved. From above there are concerns about increasing inability to afford to pay for public services in the future. From below there are calls for rights, choices, and empowerment. Both perspectives evidence diminishing confidence in the assurances offered by grand theory, and both result in a marked shift away from a dominant state-run model. Narrowing further into education locally, there have been changes in many aspects of New Zealand education including school governance, curriculum, types of courses, qualifications, and opportunities for new players. This has occurred within the context of concerns about declining academic and behavioural standards. The research question is: What factors have motivated change in a New Zealand teacher-education development project? Participant observation and structured interview methods have been used to examine possible motivations. The objective has been to identify and quantify benefits to the community derived from more involvement, sense of ownership, mission and purpose. The findings indicate strength of commitment and involvement by participants in the purposes and activities. The study found there was a sense of success connected with what participants had achieved. There was also an optimistic view of the future, which seems likely to involve increased government-community partnership and a more consultative approach towards ongoing development.