Re-forming and Innovating Education: Lessons from International Development

  • Steve Pickford University of Wollongong
Keywords: Innovation, educational reform, international development, dialogical orientation, mediation


Reform, innovation and change in education are here claimed to be intersecting phenomena often associated with the provision and application of new knowledge, practices and technologies. While flows of innovative knowledge and information are not new, the pace of expansion has risen to unprecedented levels often generating transfer gaps and hindering capacity for beneficial absorption. What has emerged as a critical variable is the nature of processes that provide for contextual understanding, local authority, and generative implementation where local innovation facilitates reform. Such processes, it is argued, are beneficially informed by the perspective of dialogic engagement (Holquist, 2002); a perspective which acknowledges that change is in constant negotiation with shifting circumstances; that it is ongoing, continuous and unfinished. This paper will explore these dynamics with respect to educational change in an  nternational development setting while arguing it is not enough for educational innovations to be seen as value-adding, but that those involved in their ‘adoption’ must be recognized as mediating that value, and be enabled to enact innovative extension in the context of local educational practice.