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New Realities of Secondary Teachers' Work Lives
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New Realities of Secondary Teachers' Work Lives


2004 paperback 320 pages, £34.00, ISBN 978-1-873927-14-4

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About the book

There are many books on educational change, its origins, processes and consequences. The unique contribution of this volume lies in its careful documenting and reporting of the reactions of teachers themselves, interviewed in 9 countries, about the changes they have experienced and in the comparative nature of the study, which employs both qualitative and quantitative methods in a complementary way. In Part One the educational background to the study in each country is described and teachers’ responses to a common research, semi-structured interview schedule are reported. In Part Two the same database is subjected to a statistical analysis for comparative purposes in order to reveal similarities and differences between countries. The project set out to obtain an international picture of the changes in education which have had the greatest impact on the lives of teachers; to explore how actual and perceived changes have influenced teachers’ experience and practice; and to identify critical factors in the implementation of change. The result is a book that will enable students to familiarise themselves with practices in other countries and policy makers to evaluate the implications of changes in different social, economic and cultural environments.



Consortium members participating in this Research

Pam Poppleton & John Williamson. Introduction: the comparative background to educational change

PART ONE. Secondary Teachers’ Experience of Educational Change in Nine Countries during the 1990s

Rick Churchill & John Williamson. Teachers’ Work Lives in an Environment of Continual Educational Change: Australian perspectives

Noel P. Hurley. Once Bitten, Twice Shy: teachers’ attitudes towards educational change in Canada

Kan Shi & Huadong Yang. How Cultural and Social Factors of Educational Change Affect Chinese Teachers’ Work Lives

Pam Poppleton. ‘All Change’: English secondary teachers’ response to a decade of change, 1988–98

Nóra Arató & Mariann Szemerszky. Teachers in Transition: Hungarian perspectives

Zehava Rosenblatt & Lya Kremer-Hayon. The Impact of Change on Teachers’ Work Lives: the Israeli experience

Theo Wubbels & Hans Vonk. The Impact of Change on Dutch Teachers

Johan Booyse & Cassie Swanepoel. The Impact of Educational Change on Teachers of the ‘Rainbow Nation’

Tsila Evers & Nóra Arató. What Has Change Got To Do With It? Teachers’ Work Lives: US perspectives

John Williamson & Pam Poppleton. The Teachers’ Voice. Examining Connections: context, teaching and teachers’ work lives

PART TWO. Cross-cultural Analysis of the Effects of Educational Change on Secondary Teachers in Nine Countries

LeVerne Collet, Allen Menlo & Zehava Rosenblatt. How Educational Change Affects Secondary School Teachers

Appendix to Part Two. Interactions between Country and Change Variables

PART THREE. Putting it All Together

Pam Poppleton & John Williamson. Review, Reflections and Realities


This book describes the research undertaken by members of the Consortium for Cross-Cultural Research in Education (CCCRE) from 1993 to 1999 in a study entitled ‘The Impact of Educational Change on the Dynamics of Teachers’ Work Lives’.This was a comparative study which collected data from nine different countries in order to uncover the range of changes worldwide; to study teachers’ reactions to change in the various countries participating and to draw conclusions about the respective roles of innovation, restructuring and reform in different contexts. Placing these processes in international context would enable, first, the implications of change for teachers to be more fully understood, and help teachers to develop a cross-cultural perspective on their work that would encourage the development of a sense of international professional identity. Second, it could offer useful information to policy makers and community leaders as they consider action for their own educational systems.
In an age when politicians, in particular, look to developments in other countries to help solve their educational problems, it is vital to avoid making judgments on the basis of limited historical, cultural or political circumstances elsewhere. For these and other reasons, we wished not only to collect data about the various systems but also to fill in the framework with some account of what the teachers themselves experienced. Our study was designed to be small scale within each country but large scale in deriving data from semi-structured interviews based on schedules carefully designed to have an identical core of items in each country. Each researcher undertook to administer the schedule to 50 secondary school teachers drawn from schools in neighbourhoods with diverse socio-economic characteristics. It was not always possible to achieve this number though interviews were recorded and transcribed and, in all, data were available from a total of some 500 teachers worldwide. In each country, quantitative measures were derived from coding the interview responses under headings agreed by all researchers after extensive consultations. All these steps in the research process were discussed between colleagues at annual meetings, implemented in each country and coordinated centrally.Qualitative data were provided by the discovery of themes and patterns of response from the interview transcripts when interviewees were encouraged to explore reflectively the impact on their work lives of the various changes reported. The two strands of evidence, qualitative and quantitative, were scrutinised for compatibility before the full stories could be told and findings compared within and between countries. The final acts of comparison enabled the process of translating similarities and differences into implications for policy and practice in introducing and implementing change in education systems
The book is organised into three sections. Part One contains accounts of the single-country studies, Part Two reports the comparative data analyses and gives tables for both within-country and between-country data, and Part Three draws both sets of findings together to arrive at some conclusions on the impact of change on the teacher’s working life.

Consortium Members Participating in this Research

Allen Menlo & LeVerne Collet, University of Michigan (USA)

Tsila Evers, Universities of Michigan and Ohio, Cincinnati (USA)

Pam Poppleton, University of Sheffield (United Kingdom)

John Williamson & Rick Churchill, University of Tasmania, (Australia), and University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba (Australia)

Lya Kremer-Hayon & Zehava Rosenblatt, University of Haifa (Israel)

Nóra Arató, University of Michigan (USA) and Mariann Szemerszky, Institute for Educational Research (Hungary)

Noel Hurley, Newfoundland Schools, formerly of the University of Windsor, Ontario (Canada)

Theo Wubbels, Utrecht University (The Netherlands) and Hans Vonk, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)

Kan Shi & Huadong Yang, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing)

Johan Booyse & Cassie Swanepoel, University of South Africa, Pretoria (South Africa)


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