Work summary of Maya Shalom

Earth Science Mentor: Prof. Nir Orion 2014

This study deals with the backround and reasons that encourage or inhibit teachers in undergoing change regarding the content and methods of teaching, following a transition to teaching in multi-grade classrooms in an elementary school and the implementation of a new curriculum in the teaching of...

science in the above mentioned classrooms.
The importance of this study is in the identification of the various factors that encourage or inhibit teachers undergoing such changes, in the belief that identifying these factors might be helpful in assisting the teacher and school system in the implementation of change.
This study is a qualitative case study of five teachers and the principle of an elementary school. The study combines observations, interviews and in-depth analysis of the personal-professional stories of the teachers (subjects). The data was processed with the method of thematic-analysis, via categorization and mapping. The author was a part of the staff of the school in which this study took place and personally knew the subjects and the context in which they worked. This fact was an advantageous to receiving authentic information as well as neutralizing the need of the subjects to appease and enabled the author to relate to the interpretations of the subjects and their connection to reality, based on the understanding of the social-cultural and historical context of their work.
The process described in this study is unique in the sense that the teachers were given a optimal and ideal environment, which complies with the conditions specified in the research literature that are considered to be optimal for the implementation of change in an optimal manner. It would be expected that these above mentioned conditions would serve as supporting factors in the success of the assimilation of change.
However, the findings of this study show that the existence of these optimal conditions alone was not sufficient as there was much diversity in the responses, behaviors and coping strategies of the teachers.
This study examines the coping strategies of the teachers in relation to their initial position regarding the change, number of years within the system (seniority), personalities, value systems and their personal strategies in dealing with cognitive dissonance and loss.
The analysis of the data points to diverse and various coping strategies used by the subjects in dealing with the process of change and has led to the main conclusion that
in order to assist in the assimilation of change the teacher should be able to identify with the vision supporting the change and be an integral part of its implementation. In order to achieve this the teachers should be given personal support for his/her individual needs based on the specific and unique elements that make up his/her personality.