John S Young – Invitational Theory provides a unique language of transformation for the school culture from awareness, to understanding, to application, to adoption. The need to improve students’ literacy and numeracy standards of achievement has meant Clarkson Community High School had to go through significant change. An increasing emphasis on data-driven decision-making is central to the school’s improvement.
In 2015, Clarkson Community High School put on a spectacular musical production, The Wiz. It was during a matinee performance that it occurred to me that the symbolism gave some parallel to the school’s learning journey. In the classic film The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy first sees the Land of Oz sepia dissolves into Technicolor, and she says to her dog, Toto: “We’re not in Kansas anymore.” Metaphor and colour each brings a new perspective to the good work that has characterised meaningful change at Clarkson Community High School over the past five years.
Invitational Theory provides a framework for instructional systems because you can analyse every initiative through the lens. Executive Director of the International Alliance for Invitational Education (IAIE) Dr Joan Fretz explains in correspondence: “No other framework provides such a clear understanding of what actually causes students to engage, work hard, persevere and trust their teachers. The key is self-concept theory, the perceptual traditional and democratic practice – these are the foundations for invitational learning theory and its application.”
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