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Title:Teachers as Change Mediators in Educational Reform
Author(s):Williamson, Jo Ellen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bertram Bruce
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Abstract:In theory, sustaining and scaling instructional reform hinges on teachers' ability to introduce new ideas, tools, and practices into their local environment and to provide concrete models of change for their peers. Yet, in spite of the critical role teachers play in propagating reform, no investigations of how teachers influence other teachers or what factors enable or impede their change-mediation efforts existed. In order to address this gap, this qualitative study describes the experiences of five teachers as they continue to promote new instructional models nearly two years after they participated in Chickscope, a state-funded educational reform initiative at the University of Illinois. Findings suggest that, while teachers do play an integral role in reform, their tasks are more complex and extended than previously described, and that they need continued, local and/or external support to be successful. For example, school cultures marked by egalitarianism and autonomy complicated change mediation among status-equal peers in this study. To overcome these barriers, the five teacher-participants either adapted their messages to local culture or influenced others in beyond-school arenas where potential conflict was less prevalent. In all cases, like-minded others provided the teachers with the emotional support they needed to pursue leadership activities, and educational leaders from universities or government agencies helped teachers establish a sense of credibility with their peers. These findings (a) challenge several prevalent theoretical notions of how innovations diffuse through systems; (b) offer practical guidance to those who hope to mediate change; and (c) suggest that highly-contextualized, descriptive studies are most appropriate for understanding and documenting the effects of change mediation in schools.
Issue Date:2002
Description:248 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2002.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3070477
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2002

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