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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Change in Concept
Why the hell is it that the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same? Educational change expert Michael Fullan takes a crack at this proverbial school reform conundrum in the third edition of his book, The New Meaning of Educational Change. According to him, "Reform is not just putting into place the latest policy. It means changing the cultures of the...
Published on August 7, 2006 by B. Lack

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The New Meaning of Educational Change
Although this book does present the history of educational change the author is overly wordy. Instead of simply stating his concepts and ideas, he talks in circles and makes it very difficult to grasp what he is trying to communicate. I find this book a poor choice as a text book.
Published on November 15, 2011 by MR20


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Educational Change in Concept, August 7, 2006
By 
B. Lack (Atlanta, GA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Why the hell is it that the more things change, the more things seem to stay the same? Educational change expert Michael Fullan takes a crack at this proverbial school reform conundrum in the third edition of his book, The New Meaning of Educational Change. According to him, "Reform is not just putting into place the latest policy. It means changing the cultures of the classrooms, the schools, the districts, the universities, and so on. There is more to educational change than most people realize" (p. 7). Restructuring schools and education has been relatively simple, says Fullan; re-culturing them has not. For change to be substantive and long lasting, improving and strengthening relationships among various stakeholders is the key.

Fullan divides his book into three parts: understanding educational change; change at the local level; and change at the global level. In the first part, he distinguishes between subjective and objective meanings of educational change, but in an awkward manner. Drawing from Dan Lortie's work on the sociology of teaching, his main argument is that teaching is a lonely profession without a well-developed shared technical culture, which leads invariably to widespread uncertainty, fragmentation, and haphazardness--all impediments to educational change. He does not explicitly describe the differences or importance of either concept, but leaves the reader with the ultimate impression that three dimensions undergird the implementation of change: "the possible use of... new or revised materials... teaching approaches... and the alteration of beliefs" (p. 39). According to Fullan, most educational reforms are ephemeral or shallow because they have grossly overlooked the importance of the third dimension (beliefs), unsurprisingly. He often distinguishes between change and the "process" of change with a 25/75 rule: educational change is 25% structural (ideas), 75% re-culturing (processes).

Fullan uses the last two parts to provide insights about adoption and implementation of policies geared toward educational change through the lens of the various stakeholders involved (teacher, principal, parent, student, school board, etc.). He is careful not to make sweeping generalizations, and has a nose for local idiosyncrasies. His most pronounced clarion call, however, is for the scaling up of whole school reform and professional learning communities (the latter fits well with his claim that beliefs are the hardest dimension to alter). Shared meaning of educational change is only possible through allowing stakeholders more transparency into each other's roles and promoting more collaboration between groups.

In each chapter, Fullan shores up his arguments with major research studies, and often expresses the findings axiomatically: For example, poorly performing schools showed "little or no attention to schoolwide problems" (p. 121). This is not a bad thing. It just makes the reader think, "Duh!?!?" Somewhat annoying was Fullan's tendency to whitewash other findings using fluffy, catch-phrases with no meat. For instance, in discussing the efficacy of the principal, he writes: "effective leaders are energy creators" (p. 149). Overall, however, for a book about a complex phenomenon like change, it is highly readable, consistent, and insightful. Those expecting a recipe book about wielding change in schools might be somewhat disappointed; however, those who just need a little inspiration and conceptual insight might find exactly what they are looking for.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What is New in "The New Meaning of Educational Change"?, April 15, 2002
By 
The third edition of Fullen's book - "The New Meaning of Educational Change" came out to the readers in 2001 ten years after its second edition was published. Its contents have been greatly enriched and "`the meaning hypothesis' has become deeply confirmed." The "knowledge base" of change in this book is broadened and deepened by applying the advances of cognitive science and the chaos theory. Based upon this, the conclusion is made that "working on `coherence' is the key to dealing with the nonlinear fragmented demands of overloaded reform agendas". A variety of most recent research about educational innovations by Cohen, Elmore, Fullan, Hargreaves, Hatch, Oakes and other researchers are integrated into different chapters and themes. Some newly verified thoughts of educational change are also presented in the new book. For instance, "one of the keys to successful changes is the improvement of relationships-precisely the focus of group development," "you can turn around an elementary school in about 3 years, a high school in 6 years, and a school district (depending on size) in about 8 years."
The new edition maintains the key structure and context of its former editions. Part one is concerned with understanding the overview of educational change. Part two are designed to look at change at the local level. Part three deals with educational change at the regional and national levels. The book remains its focuses on understanding both the small and big pictures of change and maintains the theme of rendering complexity understandable and amendable to productive action. The author's in-depth insights about the contradictory and paradoxical nature of change and his illustrative and practical ideas about the procedures of change still greatly contributes to the values of the book.
If you want to equip yourself with the important, resourceful, and up-dated theory, research and practices about "what" and "how" of educational change, the third edition is your necessity.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The bible of educational change theory., August 6, 2000
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in school change and reform. Fullan has provided a comprehensive overview as well as a host of unique ideas. This was not intended to be a casual read. It is a serious reference.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent manual of educational change, March 16, 2013
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
Fullan does an excellent job highlighting the challenges, process, and infrastructures that impact educational change. The fact that change may be needed and the process of effecting change may be effective, the end result or the effectiveness of the changes are not always good or productive. The text is pact with so much critical information related to change that it is a slow read. It requires a lot of reflection and internalizing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 10, 2014
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
This book is very informative!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Resource, October 16, 2012
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
This book is an invaluable resource. Fullan's writing is superb--he knows his craft well and combines research and meaningful anecdotes with practical applications. A must read for anyone who is interested in the nuts-and-bolts of educational change and the factors that influence making it work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bought for Class, July 23, 2014
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
This was a book I had to buy for a class in education. It was a good read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Meaning of Educational Change, April 17, 2012
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
I use the book in my current course and it is very useful on the subject of Educational Change. I recommend it to any body doing a course on Education administration at graduate level
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book on systemic change., June 26, 2011
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
Fullan addresses matters and research important to systemic change. The main discussion Fullan presents is based on building system wide capacity.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The New Meaning of Educational Change, November 15, 2011
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This review is from: The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition (Paperback)
Although this book does present the history of educational change the author is overly wordy. Instead of simply stating his concepts and ideas, he talks in circles and makes it very difficult to grasp what he is trying to communicate. I find this book a poor choice as a text book.
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The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition
The New Meaning of Educational Change, Fourth Edition by Michael Fullan (Paperback - April 1, 2007)
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