Mireille D. Hubers, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the Department of Educational Science, University of Twente, The Netherlands. Her doctoral dissertation explored the ways in which educators build capacity within their school in order to sustain their data use. Mireille’s research focuses on the ways in which schools and organizations can sustain their improvement strategies through individual and organizational learning. She publishes and presents her work regularly. Examples include the 2017 peer-reviewed article “The quest for sustained data use: Developing organizational routines”
and the 2018 book chapter in “Networks for Learning” (Routledge), which contains
practical strategies to achieve sustained school improvement. Currently, Mireille works as a guest editor on a special issue about sustainable educational change. Finally, she conducts practical workshops to support schools and organizations in facing their sustainability challenge.
In this interview, part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Hubers talks about her work in sustainable educational and organizational change. As she puts it:
In the long run, most educational changes are not sustained (Fullan, 2016; Hubers et al., 2017). Therefore, phrases said by researchers and/or designers of interventions like: ‘the intervention will spread like a ripple in a pond’ or ‘the intervention will snowball,’ should be treated with caution. Lessons I learned from my research on this topic include the importance of focus. It is crucial that educators collectively decide on a single change purpose and keep that purpose on their radar for a number of years. Once, I visited a school which tried to implement eight educational changes within one year. For example, they wanted to use data to improve their schooling, improve their assessment strategies, and personalize their students’ learning. Though each of these changes can be of tremendous value to students, trying to implement them all simultaneously will not work. It is better to choose one type of change and really make it work, than to do a lot of things in a superficial manner. However, the difficulty is to make that decision. What is it the school wants to excel at? What are the core values and what educational changes will
not be implemented? Another major lesson learned is that it can never be assumed that knowledge will automatically flow through a professional learning community or a school; this is something that requires explicit attention, focus, and considerable effort.
This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also interviewed Mel Ainscow and Charlene Tan.