Ways of Change

Dennis Shirley collaborated with his colleague Andy Hargreaves for over 10 years on research projects on education change in England, Alberta and the United States. Their work resulted in two books, The 4th Way – a critique of 3 ways of educational change, and The Global 4th Way – an overview of the broad principles extrapolated from The 4th Way as pointers for practice in education change.

Introspection around Values

An essential theme of 4th way change is introspection regarding values and beliefs - about what a good school and a good society are. These conversations include looking at data in relation to these values and beliefs to create a broader way of thinking about change.

The Ontario Challenge

The challenges in Ontario schools are related to creating the conditions in which teachers know they are trusted and that if they take risks they will be supported. Administrators are challenged to participate in the adventure of learning with students and teachers and students are challenged to honour this shift in thinking.

The Global Fourth Way

The global fourth way looks at research to extrapolate best practices as pointers for practice - ways that schools can change through inspiring instruction, rigorous curriculum, culturally sensitive assessments, community engagement and the mindful use of new technologies - with the goal of developing a mindset in which learners will persevere through challenges.

The Vision

A UNESCO Report, Education: the Treasure Within (1996), settled on four big goals as vision of education - learning to know, learning to make, learning to be and learning to be together. This vision of education takes us back to the grandeur of the enterprise of education – it’s about more than tests, it’s about reaching for higher moral purposes to serve the well-being of our student.