Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Educational Reform, Coherent Teaching Practice, and Improved Student Learning

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  • Fullan, M. G. (1991a). The meaning of educational change. In M. G. Fullan, The new meaning of educational change (pp. 30-46). New York: Teachers College Press.

Change may come about because it is imposed on us. Or, we may voluntarily participate in or initiate change when we find something significantly wrong in our current situation. The personal and collective experience of change is characterized by uncertainty, anxiety, and struggle. If it works out, it can result in a sense of mastery, accomplishment, and professional growth. In this chapter of his book, Fullan examines the subjective meaning and objective reality of change in educational settings. He describes three themes that characterize the subjective meanings of change: the typical situation of teachers is one of fixity with many forces tending to keep things that way; there is little room for change and change is resented when imposed from the outside; and there is a strong tendency for people to adjust to change by doing as little as possible. He looks at the objective reality of educational change, saying that people generally do not understand the nature and ramifications of most changes. Implementation of any new program or policy involves changes in materials, teaching approaches, and beliefs. An individual may implement none, one, two, or all three of these. Fullan illustrates the objective reality of change with three examples. He describes six implications of the subjective and objective realities of change that relate to: (1) the soundness of the proposed changes; (2) understanding the process of change; (3) understanding the nature and feasibility of particular changes; (4) the realities of the status quo; (5) the deepness of change; and (6) the question of valuing.

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