This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Educational Change: The View from Within




Shelley, Tami

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


The purpose of this dissertation research was to capture the lived experiences of teachers in an independent private school during a four-year period of multiple systemic changes. This was done in a retrospective manner to gain firsthand insights from within the systemic change. The perceptions on change from teachers with varying academic preparation, teaching experience, and tenure at the school provided valuable information concerning the process of simultaneous systemic change within a private independent school. This retrospective qualitative case study focused on three areas of intentional systemic change over a four-year time span within a private, independent school. This process of change and its effect is documented through the eyes of classroom teachers and the effect that the changes had on them personally, practically, and professionally. The three areas of simultaneous systemic change were: reduction of class size, technology integration, and collaborative leadership of teachers. The following research questions were explored in this study: 1. What are the teachers’ perceptions of their contribution to implement and sustain change? 2. What intellectual and emotional work must teachers do to successfully implement and sustain change? 3. What supports do teachers need when implementing and sustaining change? ii The researcher conducted interviews with each teacher following a series of constructed questions. These interviews were recorded in order to preserve and document teachers’ reflections on an intensive, implementation of three systemic changes, transcribed and then coded using the NVivo 10 Qualitative Data System. The themes that emerged from the interviews include: (1) clarifying the proposed change and the role of the teacher in change, (2) clarifying the role of the administrator in change, (3) supporting through professional development and pacing of change, (4) building trust and team membership. The findings from this study provide valuable insight into change for teachers and administrators. The participants in this study brought to life the complexities and needs of educators embarking on change. Based on its findings, this study recommends that further investigation into teacher self-efficacy and emotional intelligence in the change process be conducted. The results of this study suggest that it is valuable for administrators to invest time in the study of the change process. The change process within a school is complex for teachers and all involved. Change is personal and change within an organization is often slow. Even with the best of leadership, change which transforms culture and practice takes years. Addressing the complexities and focusing on the needs of those involved can dramatically influence in a positive manner the experience and outcome of the change process and the culture in which it takes place. iii