Teachers and Educational Change

The Lived Experience of Secondary School Restructuring

By James Nolan Jr. & Denise G. Meister

Subjects: Anthropology Of Education
Series: SUNY series, Restructuring and School Change
Paperback : 9780791447000, 249 pages, August 2000
Hardcover : 9780791446997, 249 pages, August 2000

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Table of contents


Part I. Introduction

1. The Context

2. Research Design

Part II. The Restructuring Experience

3. Uncertainty

4. Intensification and Limited Time

5. Lack of Administrative Leadership

6. Subject Loyalty versus Team Allegiance

7. Craft Pride, Caring, and Moral Purpose

Part III. Conclusion

8. Deepening Our Understanding of Educational Change



Presents powerful lessons about the realities of school reform by portraying the experiences of five teachers involved in a restructuring initiative.


This book vividly portrays the experiences of five secondary teachers who were involved in a school restructuring initiative that focused on interdisciplinary curriculum development, team teaching, and block scheduling. Though much has been written during the past decade concerning the need for fundamental restructuring of American schools, the track record in accomplishing change is extremely weak. One reason for this is the lack of understanding of what change means from the point of view of teachers, who are both the objects and subjects of change efforts. The year the authors spent with the teachers resulted in a deeper understanding of the phenomenology of change experiences that can be used to develop more fruitful, empowering, and teacher sensitive strategies. The story of the change experience is presented through five interlocking and mutually reinforcing themes that dominated the teachers' experience and understanding: uncertainty; intensification; lack of administrative leadership; subject allegiance versus team loyalty; and craft pride, caring, and moral purpose.

James Nolan Jr. is Associate Professor of Education at the Pennsylvania State University, and coauthor of Principles of Classroom Management: A Professional Decision-Making Model. Denise G. Meister is Assistant Professor of Education at the Pennsylvania State University.


"Anyone working as a change agent or with professional development can learn valuable lessons from this book. It is an honest look at a group of teachers who tried very hard to implement a mandated change. It posits several assertions that are important when implementing any change. " — Christy McGee, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville