The development of systemic support when seeking to promote a school culture that drives sustained school improvement requires collaboration (Marzano & Waters, 2009). Since “the public school establishment is one of the most stubbornly intransigent forces on the planet” (Marzano & Waters, 2009, p. 2), a positive cultural change needs new thinking, willingness, humility, collaboration, and a collective vision grounded in a clear Learning for All mission. The principal, teachers, and parents are all school leaders needing to be available to shape a school’s non-negotiable culture (Peterson & Deal, 1998).
Effective collaborative change begins with recognition that although loosely coupled by design, schools can also be tightly coupled by adherence to non-negotiable goals and a culture that promotes student learning. It is therefore essential to promote a “defined autonomy” (Marzano & Waters, 2009, p. 8) by communicating a clear vision to both internal and external stakeholders. Otherwise, change is slow or nonexistent (Lezotte & Snyder, 2011). However, school leaders must effectively communicate to stakeholders the difference between a steady, sustained approach compared to resistance or unwillingness to change.
The effectiveness of school leadership acts remains contingent upon teacher acceptance (Matthews & Brown, 1976). Teachers’ attitudes and perceptions influence positive or negative responses to initiatives (Rokeach, 1968). Teachers’ perception of respect and trust exhibited by the principal correlates with both teachers’ and students’ morale, commitment, and achievement (Ellis, 1988; Riner, 2003). However, when a school leader effectively communicates a vision for success, models positive expectations, and utilizes inviting leadership practices, teachers’ behaviors can be influenced (Asbill, 1994; Asbill & Gonzalez, 2000).
Invitational Education theory provides a needed collaborative and holistic framework for school transformation. Rather than suggesting a quick-fix, the framework encourages a metamorphosis, requiring years of vigilance before affirming sustained change (Strahan & Purkey, 1992). Vigilance is required because “transforming the way schools operate means transforming people” (Asbill, 1994, p. 42). School reform requires systemic change, a metamorphosis, based on systemic analysis of the people, places, policies, programs, and processes (the Five Ps). Such analysis discerns whether any part of the whole is disinviting (Strahan & Purkey, 1992).
Invitational Education provides “a theory of practice that radiates into every relationship in the school setting” (Asbill, 1994, p. 43). Actions and interactions can be perceived as either inviting or disinviting (Purkey & Novak, 2008). Therefore, actions or interaction perceived as positive become “invitations that bid others to see themselves as capable, valuable, and responsible and to behave accordingly” (Asbill, 1994, p.43).
Burns and Martin (2010) posit the Invitational Education theory creates a leadership model providing the collaborative structure needed to guide educational leaders through diverse and complex situations. This leadership model is comprehensive in design (Burns & Martin, 2010; Egley, 2003). It is also inclusive of many of the elements of transformational and servant leadership, considered essential for promoting success in educational organizations.
Utilization of Invitational Education theory and practice can create and maintain safe and successful schools by addressing the total culture of the educational environment (Stanley, et al., 2004). Leaders willing to explore key concepts of Invitational Education theory and practice increase opportunities for developing a school culture that drives sustained school improvement. These key collaborative concepts include: Transformation of communication skills, ongoing assessment of the 5 Ps (people places policies, practices, and processes), and empowering group dynamics.
(JITP) promotes the study, application, and research of Invitational Theory and Practice. As an online peer reviewed scholarly publication, the JITP presents articles to advance the theory. As JITP editor, Dr. Chris James Anderson of Southwest Minnesota State University’s School of Education invites others to embrace the holistic and interdependent conditions that promote learning for all! The JITP seeks to advance the tenets of Invitational Education (IE) theory and practices to optimize educational equity in quality. While education is the endeavor that strengthens a mind, frees a spirit, and enriches a society, the JITP will not be limited to educational stakeholders. Rather, the JITP welcomes all opportunities to promote the study, application, and research of Invitational Theory and Practice (ITP). Authors must follow the specific guidelines when submitting manuscripts for JITP publication consideration. Guidelines for Authors or Book Reviews can be accessed from: https://www.invitationaleducation.net/publications/journal/
Submit manuscripts as email attachments to JITPeditor@invitationaleducation.net
Anderson, C.J. (January 31, 2017) Invitational education theory, collaborative change, and the
Journal of Invitational Theory & Practice. [Web log post] Retrieved from
Asbill, K., & Gonzalez, M. L. (2000). Invitational leadership: Teacher perceptions of inviting
Principal practices. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 7(1), 16-27. Retrieved
Burns, G., & Martin, B. N. (2010). Examination of the effectiveness of male and female
educational leaders who made use of the invitational leadership style of leadership.
Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice, 16, 30-56.
Edmonds, R. (1979). Effective schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 37(10), 15-24.
Egley, R. (2003). Invitational leadership: Does it make a difference? Journal of Invitational
Theory and Practice, 9, 57-70.
Lezotte, L. W., & Snyder, K. M. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the
correlates. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Marzano, R. (2003). What works in schools: Translating research into action (first ed.).
Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Marzano, R. & Waters, T.(2009). District leadership that works. Bloomington, In: Solution
Purkey, W. (1992). An introduction to invitational theory. Journal of Invitational Theory and
Practice, 1(1), 5-14.
Purkey, W., & Novak, J. (1996). Inviting school success: A self-concept approach to teaching
and learning (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Purkey, W. W., & Siegel, B. L. (2013). Becoming an invitational leader: A new approach to
professional and personal success. Atlanta, GA: Humanics. Retrieved from:
Schmidt, J. J. (2007). Elements of diversity in invitational practice and research. Journal of
Invitational Theory & Practice, 13, 16-23. Retrieved from: http://www.invitationaleducation.net/pdfs/journalarchives/jitpv13.pdf