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Out on a Limb on Our Own: Uncertainty and Doubt Moving from Subject-Centered to Interdisciplinary Teaching

by Denise G. Meister & Jim Nolan Jr. - 2001

This paper describes and interprets how five teachers of high school freshmen defined and made meaning of a change process in which they were involved. The restructuring initiative, which was administratively imposed, involved teaming, interdisciplinary teaching, and block scheduling. The study took place during the 1st year of implementation, 6 months after the team had received the mandate and prepared for the restructuring. The tools of inquiry included the following methods: (a) analysis of three in-depth phenomenological interviews, (b) participation observation, and (c) analyses of documents such as minutes from team meetings and curriculum planning sessions.

Although several interrelated themes emerged, uncertainty and doubt became the pervading theme that had a critical and sometimes debilitating effect on the teaching teamís ability to move from subject-based to interdisciplinary teaching. This uncertainty and doubt was magnified and perpetuated because of the deficit model utilized to implement the initiative: lack of teacher input in to decision to restructure, the schoolís history of adopting trends, lack of professional development, lack of a written curriculum, lack of administrative leadership, and the pull between loyalty to subject and allegiance to tea

This paper describes and interprets how five teachers of high school freshmen defined and made meaning of a change process in which they were involved. The restructuring initiative, which was administratively imposed, involved teaming, interdisciplinary teaching, and block scheduling. The study took place during the 1st year of implementation, 6 months after the team had received the mandate and prepared for the restructuring. The tools of inquiry included the following methods: (a) analysis of three in-depth phenomenological interviews, (b) participation observation, and (c) analyses of documents such as minutes from team meetings and curriculum planning sessions.

Although several interrelated themes emerged, uncertainty and doubt became the pervading theme that had a critical and sometimes debilitating effect on the teaching team's ability to move from subject-based to interdisciplinary teaching. This uncertainty and doubt was magnified and perpetuated because of the deficit model utilized to implement the initiative: lack of teacher input into decision to restructure, the school's history of adopting trends, lack of professional development, lack of a written curriculum, lack of administrative leadership, and the pull between loyalty to subject and allegiance to team.


Analysts have noted a cyclical pattern of major reform movements: They erupt every decade or so, then recede to the background, leaving the larger educational picture only slightly altered and producing nominal changes in educational practice (Murphy, 1991). The neglect of the phenomenology of change—how people experience change in contrast to how it was intended—is at the "heart of the spectacular lack of success of most social reforms" (Fullan, 1991). Bogdan and Biklen (1992) write,

Change is complicated because beliefs, lifestyles, and behavior come into conflict. People who try to change education, be it in a particular classroom or for the whole system, seldom understand how people involved in the changes think. Consequently, they are unable to accurately anticipate how the participants will react. Since it is the people in the setting who must live with the change, it is their definitions of the situation that are crucial if change is going to work. (p. 200)

In response to the need for studies that focus on the phenomenology of change in concrete situations, this case study was designed to describe and interpret how five teachers of high school freshmen defined and made meaning of a change process in which they were involved. The restructuring initiative involved teaming, interdisciplinary teaching, and block scheduling. All three innovations, which were to be implemented together, were administratively imposed with almost no teacher input. The five teachers, representing the disciplines of English, foreign language, mathematics, science, and social studies, had no experience in block scheduling. Although the English and social studies teachers had engaged in interdisciplinary team teaching together the previous three years, the remaining three had no experience in teaming or interdisciplinary teaching. This study took place during the entire 1st year of implementation, 6 months after the team had received the mandate and begun preparing to implement the restructuring effort.

The primary focus of this paper is the curriculum reform component of the change initiative that mandated a move from subject-centered to interdisciplinary curriculum. The paper portrays the experiences of the teachers in developing and implementing that curriculum and briefly describes the curriculum that resulted.

The following questions guided the study: What did these teachers experience? How did the teachers understand these experiences? How did their interaction with each other as a team contribute to their understanding of these experiences?



In terms of its conceptual underpinnings, the study is closely linked to the ideas of Michael Fullan (1991) and Andrew Hargreaves (1994). Fullan's work has been especially enlightening in pointing out the importance of attending to the phenomenology of change and to the ways in which individuals make sense of and come to grips with change. As Fullan and others have suggested, the magnitude of any change process must be measured in terms of the change that is required on the part of each individual. Hargreaves' work has been particularly powerful in helping change facilitators understand the perspectives that teachers bring to the change process in terms of their conceptions of time, power, and the emotional aspects of teaching. Taken together, the work of Fullan and Hargreaves points out the need for studies of the change process that portray the process of change from the point of view of the participants in the change process. In the past several years, several case studies have appeared that illuminate the change process by focusing on the work of individual schools and individual teachers and administrators within these schools (see Elmore, Peterson, & McCartney, 1996; Murphy & Hallinger, 1993; and Wasley, 1991, 1994). This study adds to the growing case literature and extends it by focusing on the phenomenology of change for these five teachers.

The research perspective that underlies the study is phenomenology. Phenomenology focuses on how individuals put together the phenomena they experience in order to make sense of the world. From this perspective, the reality that counts is the reality each individual comes to know and experience. The researcher attempts to enter the conceptual world of the participants in the study, to come to understand it as they do, and to portray that understanding so that it will be insightful and illuminating for others. Given its phenomenological perspective, this case study is an attempt to portray what these five teachers experience during the restructuring effort, how they make sense of and derive meaning from those experiences, and what they learn from the process. As Fullan (1993) suggests, it is by coming to understand how individuals experience and make sense of change that we are most likely to be able to develop more productive change strategies.


The case study employed a variety of qualitative data collection strategies including participant observation, structured interviews, informal conversations, document analysis, and artifact collection. We spent two to three full days in the school each week during the fall semester and one full day per week during the spring semester. During these days in the school, we observed three classes per day, participated in a teacher team planning meeting, and ate lunch with the team of teachers. Each researcher compiled a set of written field notes along with researcher observations for each day of observation.

In addition, we conducted three structured interviews with each teacher. The first set of interviews was conducted in September and focused on the teachers' professional background, the decision-making process leading up to the restructuring decision, and the goals of the restructuring effort. The second set of interviews, conducted in January, focused on the implementation process to that point, including successes, failures, problems, and unresolved issues. The third and final set of interviews, conducted during the 1st week of June, asked the teachers to reflect on the implementation process. We also collected minutes from team and curriculum planning meetings, as well as artifacts from the various classes, including teacher and student products. In addition, we conducted interviews with the assistant principal, principal, and assistant superintendent to gain their perspectives on the process.

Data interpretation began with the initial set of field notes and interviews and continued throughout the entire process. Open, axial, and selective codings were the main data analysis procedures employed (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Credibility and trustworthiness were enhanced by prolonged engagement, three types of triangulation, member check, and the establishment of an audit trail. Member check consisted both of continuous informal conversations with the teachers about what we were seeing as well as a formal meeting in which our interpretations were presented to the teachers with the opportunity for the teachers to respond to the accuracy of our interpretations.


The study took place in a small, privately endowed residential school for boys and girls in the central portion of a mid-Atlantic state. Founded in 1909 by a business magnate and his wife and later fully endowed by them, the school provides education and care for students from poor families. Though it is a private school, the students who are served by the school are very much like the students one would find in public schools in many urban settings. The criteria for student selection include evidence of low family income, as well as evidence of additional family problems. Students who attend the school are provided with free education, free room and board, free medical and dental care, and a clothing allowance. In addition, graduates are provided with scholarships by the school to defray part of the expenses of postsecondary education. Currently, children from 36. states are represented in the school population.

The participants were five teachers who formed a team to implement an interdisciplinary curriculum for high school freshmen. During their team planning sessions prior to implementation, the teachers chose the name "Team Apex" and also developed the team motto, "The view from the top is worth the climb." There were two females, one an American literature teacher (Tanya) and the other a Spanish/French teacher (Martha), and three males, who taught algebra and geometry (Gary), earth science (John), and American history (Lew). Their years of teaching expedience ranged from 5 to 20 years. Tanya, the English teacher, and Lew, the social studies teacher, had been teaming and integrating curriculum for 3 years. The other teachers had no experience with teaming or interdisciplinary teaching.


Though there are several interrelated themes that can be used to portray the experiences of these five teachers, we have chosen to focus this paper on the theme of uncertainty and doubt because of the critical and sometimes debilitating effect it had on the teaching team's ability to move from subject-based to interdisciplinary teaching. Intense feelings of uncertainty and doubt were articulated from the inception of the restructuring project to the last interview that we conducted with the teachers, resulting in tremendous amounts of emotional turmoil for all five of the teachers. Some teachers experienced these feelings more intensely than others, but all five experienced them in significant amounts. The intensity of these feelings also varied across time, but they were always present to some degree. These feelings of doubt led two of the teachers to independently describe the experience as "being out on a limb on our own." Yet despite these intense feelings of doubt and uncertainty, these five teachers engaged in almost heroic efforts to make things succeed so that their students would benefit. Their commitment to student welfare in the face of the emotional turmoil that they experienced throughout the change effort was remarkable.

Lortie (1975, p. 136) writes: "The teacher's craft is masked by the absence of unclear models for emulation, unclear lines of influence, multiple and controversial criteria, ambiguity about assessment timing, and instability in the product." Rosenholtz (as cited in Hargreaves, 1994) agrees, describing uncertainty as the lack of unclear agreement, common definition, or collective confidence in shared teaching technologies.

Maeroff (1993) adds that it is common for teachers to struggle with the following questions when they embark on a new innovation: (a) Why are we changing? (b) What are we worried about losing or leaving behind? (c) What are we most uncertain about? (d) What do we have to unlearn? and (e) What are we committing ourselves to? He concludes from his research that all these questions formulate teacher uncertainty—about the curriculum, assessment, and the best way to use time.

These endemic uncertainties of teaching and implementing change were exaggerated, often to almost debilitating levels, during this study because of several distinct but intertwined features of the restructuring project: The administration imposed the changes without including teacher input; the school had a history of adopting trends and then abandoning them without warning; the school did not provide sufficient opportunities for professional development around the restructuring initiative; no written curriculum existed for discipline-based or interdisciplinary teaching; the teachers felt a lack of administrative leadership; and the teachers were constantly torn between loyalty to their subject area and allegiance to their fellow team members. Each of these distinct features is presented separately below, but it is critical to understand their intertwined and mutually reinforcing impact on the emotional lives of the teachers.


The teachers never knew or understood the goals of the restructuring project. All the teachers articulated possible goals of the restructuring project with each one giving a different goal. The only teacher who seemed to be remotely knowledgeable about one phase of the restructuring, the block scheduling, was John, who believed his position as chair of the Science Department led to his inclusion on visits to schools that were engaged in block scheduling. He explained that the members of the Science Department advocated for block scheduling because it would provide them with ample time for conducting laboratory projects in tandem with lecture. He did not know, however, how the interdisciplinary teaming fit into the block scheduling scheme or how it became a part of the initiative.

One point on which the teachers did agree was that the faculty members never had the opportunity to vote if they wanted the initiative or not. By having no input in to the decision-making process, the teachers felt confused and hurt. Lew captured the teachers' feelings. When asked if the teachers had input in to the decision to restructure, Lew said, "Not at all, not at all, and you will find that to be the case in most of the things that are passed down to us, and that is what keeps a lot of dissension, and that is what keeps a lot of indifference, to tell you the truth.”

Even at the end of the school year, when the teachers were approached to make scheduling recommendations for the next year, their advice was ignored, making them feel their opinions and expertise were meaningless. The one scheduling request dealt with their desire to have sufficient individual planning time during each six-day schedule cycle. The teachers felt that they had lost planning time because of teaming. All the teachers who were not teaming had 6 planning periods per 6-day cycle. Since the Apex teachers were teaming, they had to devote one-half of their planning time to teaming, which left them with only 3 periods per 6-day cycle to prepare for their own individual classes or departments or other duties. The administration acknowledged that they already knew this problem existed but did not know how to remedy it. When the team devised a solution, the administration agreed to it, but reneged 1 month later when they realized the extra planning time added a burden to the non-core subject areas. The team felt they were ignored and that the administration could have dealt with the inequity other ways, such as having other teachers facilitate the activity period at the end of even-numbered days.

The second scheduling request dealt with the grouping of the freshmen as sophomores the following year. The teachers believed that the students from the two teams should be mixed rather than retained in the same team formation. They felt it was important for the students to mix with other students and to lessen the possibility of homogeneous grouping, not by ability but in terms of the learning experiences the students would be having. The teachers realized that the students in the two 9th-grade teams were experiencing different learning styles and content and that it was imperative to mix the students in 10th grade so that they all had a variety of learning opportunities. The administration seemed to agree at first, but ended up keeping the teams intact for the following school year. The teachers were convinced this was done for reasons of convenience and that, once again, their professional expertise did not count.

This continued neglect of the teachers' voices throughout the implementation of the restructuring program magnified the teachers' uncertainty in both the purpose of the restructuring and their effectiveness in carrying it out. This uncertainty validates that, regardless of the factors that motivate change, teachers infer from imposed change that their teaching is not appropriate or adequate (Sikes, 1992). This inference, especially when compounded with a mandate that has no clearly articulated goals, adds to the doubt that teachers have when trying to ascertain if they are effectively teaching their students. The paradox is that teachers, who are marginal participants in the overall discussions about restructuring, are the key figures in whether that restructuring makes a difference for the students (Webb, Corbett, & Wilson, 1993). How the restructuring affects the students directly relates to how the teachers view the changes and translate the ideas into classroom practice.


The Apex teachers perceived that they were part of a culture that had a long history of initiating change without asking for teacher input, without communicating goals, without planning any kind of assessment, and then abandoning the innovation in a similar fashion. This history of adopting and dropping innovations led to teacher skepticism and more uncertainty. Three distinct features highlighted the importance this tradition had on the teachers' feelings and concerns: the trend to jump on and off the bandwagon of innovations, the lack of evaluation of any programs, and the tendency to incorporate too many changes at one time.

The teachers were able to recite a litany of innovations that had come and gone over the past six years. Tanya compared the past history of change like this: "Things do change like lightning around here. You can blink and something is different." John cited that the school had gone through so many changes over the last couple of years that did not seem to have any rhyme or reason. Martha added that all the teachers were so wary of this new initiative that they asked the administration to make a 4- or 5-year commitment to it and then evaluate it for its effectiveness. Gary felt that the pattern was to start some programs and then drop them a year or two later without evaluating their worth.

Numerous changes that transpired at the beginning of this endeavor added to the ambiguity. John explained,

We kept changing. We weren't sure what we would have to work with, and then we were told one thing about computers and then another thing about computers. It all worked out, but had we up front been told, this is what it would be and we could've planned from there, and these are the people on the team and these are the people you will work with, we could've planned from there, and not have people be changed and not have the perimeters being changed.

Gary added that the 10th-grade teams, which had taken time in the spring to prepare for the interdisciplinary teaming, were told that the schedule would not allow it, and their teaming had to be abandoned.

Lew seemed to capture the frustration and concern of the team in his response to the question of why his biggest fear was that the whole initiative would be dropped:

In these 18 years I probably have taught social studies 10 different ways, going from remedial section to an honor section to the interdisciplinary. It was like a mixture of things that I have done throughout the years because they [the administrators] always come up with a new way, and I have always been—I guess I have always been willing to take a challenge. When they throw out the challenge, hey, I'll try that, you know, and then I'll do that. But every time I start to get it moving, they say we have to do away with that. . . . We do all the different things and we are constantly changing, and I guess the sad thing is that we never assess or evaluate to say, well, was that worth keeping or why are we throwing it out, and I have a problem with that. I know there are no plans to evaluate what we are doing because I have always asked about that, and there is no answer for that.

This tendency to jump off and on the bandwagon of innovations kept the teachers in a constant state of uncertainty in terms of the continuance of the project. The teachers lamented that no process to evaluate had been put into place. They saw the lack of evaluation as a strong indication that the administration was really much more interested in the appearance of change rather than in actually doing what was best for students.


After the teachers formed teams during the spring semester prior to the implementation, they were given 10 release days during that semester and 100 paid hours that summer to plan an interdisciplinary curriculum and attend any workshops that would help them to plan. The teachers appreciated the time and money, but they did not know to whom or where to turn for the training. The training of which they became aware was through networking with other teachers. Thus, they did visit one high school about 60 miles away, which they heard was involved in block scheduling and teaming. However, since that school was not really involved in interdisciplinary work, the teachers found the visit unsatisfactory.

The second workshop they attended together was in May, a team building workshop. They felt that this conference helped them understand team building but did not answer any questions about interdisciplinary curriculum. The team then asked to attend the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development's annual conference since interdisciplinary curriculum was a featured strand. Since the conference was in California, making expenses high, the administration allowed one teacher from each of the teams to attend. Martha represented Apex and felt it was an invaluable experience. However, since the other teachers did not attend the conference, they did not feel any ownership in what Martha learned. Therefore, what she experienced was never really studied in terms of how the Apex teachers could formulate themes or units.

Lew and Tanya were probably the least surprised by the lack of professional development because they experienced the same when they started teaming years ago. Lew explained how he and Tanya forged their curriculum,

The 1st year was really interesting because we really had no idea what we were doing. [Administrator], as I said, was supposedly in charge, and he told us, he sat us down, the four of us, and he said this was definitely a major emphasis for the school and he would be there every step of the way and we had an unlimited budget and we could do all these fantastic things just like we are hearing now, and then all of a sudden the next year, we couldn't buy books and we couldn't get certain materials. Then they said, well maybe get that out of your department budget, and then the department said, we didn't budget for these kinds of things, and there was a big discrepancy on how we would get our materials, and when we went back to [the administrator], he seemed to not know what we were talking about, and so it got really screwy from the very beginning. You know, we started to see then that we were kind of on our own, and then after the year went on, we really didn't see any guidance whatsoever or any kind of feedback or any input or any concern from anyone, and that really got us off to a real strange start. So Tanya and I kind of just bumped our way around, and we didn't do a whole lot together as opposed to just little projects.

I guess the biggest problem is again, you know, we are out here and we felt like we were out on a limb with getting started, and as you saw when you first latched on to us, we were given time but no real guidance or direction. So we are trying to put together what we find very difficult to do without the training and the proper guidance.

This lack of professional development not only left the teachers feeling stranded, but also confused about the possible methods to integrate curriculum. A constant question no one could answer was, "Are we doing it right?” The administrators did not have any model for the teams to investigate or emulate. Even the experts on interdisciplinary curriculum purport different methods. These diverse models in the field made the need for school-wide in-service even more critical. If nothing else, the teachers needed a shared language so that they could define what they were trying to do and reach an agreement to the best model for their students.

This lack of professional development to discuss curriculum, to examine models of interdisciplinary curriculum, and to address student needs made it impossible to create a common 9th-grade interdisciplinary curriculum for both teams to implement. It also created more uncertainty since both 9th-grade teams chose different models of interdisciplinary teaming. Apex chose to stay content specific and present content through historical themes. The other team selected Drake's model that deemphasizes content and places more emphasis on student choice. Thus, the two models of interdisciplinary teaming exacerbated the fact that no written curriculum existed and left the teachers concerned that the students were losing a common pool of knowledge.


The lack of any written curriculum for grades 9 through 12 seemed to play a minor role in the beginning of the implementation but became a major factor as the teachers tried to implement the interdisciplinary teaming. When asked to show or discuss their written courses of study, each teacher stated that none existed in his or her subject area. Instead, the teachers talked about different aspects of curriculum planning in which they had engaged on a school-wide basis or about some specific steps they had taken in their departments to assess student achievement. In terms of school-wide curriculum planning, the teachers talked about setting benchmarks, devising 13 outcomes, and creating checklists to show mastery of skills.

The most helpful curriculum writing they engaged in, however, was "mapping," which each department created to show what content or concepts must be covered in a certain grade level. They also knew that the administration established curriculum coordinators or strand leaders and segmented the school into four different areas. These leaders, especially the core subject leader, however, did not seem to be effective.

Gary, who had taught in numerous other schools, expressed surprise and amazement when he first came to the school and was told no written curriculum existed. He explained the Math Department's curriculum planning as follows:

When I first came and I asked to see a copy of the curriculum, basically there wasn't a whole lot to see. I was told, well in algebra you cover this and this and this, arid nobody even ... really that 1st year—I was amazed—nobody ever really checked up to see what was going on. Over time we developed this tiling called "map," which was basically drawn up by the people in the departments, and in the Math Department in particular, we took Algebra I and we decided, well this is what we want to cover in Algebra I; this is what we want to cover in geometry; this is what we want to do in Algebra II. So we had certain benchmarks that we had set up that we wanted to attain in each of those courses, but since we've kind of gotten away from the "map" of the past few years, again, we're back to like just really nothing, and in a way, in the Math Department, at least the textbook does have some factor in it because we do go by usually the topics that are in there now. What we've gone on to do the past few years is we've developed our competency test in mathematics so that we do have certain competencies in Algebra I, Algebra II, prealgebra, that need to be met on those levels, and that is kind of what we've been trying to make sure they perform those certain tasks at certain levels so they can use them later on. But again we're still kind of using the "map" guidelines even from there.

Without any written curriculum, the teachers were unable to place individual subject area frameworks on the table to begin deliberations for interdisciplinary teaming. Instead, the teachers wrote on the chalkboard the content that they covered from September until June. They spoke in broad terms, such as an historical period for social studies, a novel or literary unit for English, a theory for science, and the content from a chapter of the textbook for foreign language and math.

Although the specificity of the subject area made it obvious that their curriculums as they originally existed could not be integrated, no one was really able to articulate that because of the lack of a written curriculum. Since the teachers' curriculums were only "in their heads" rather than in a written form, the teachers did not have the materials available to help them understand or deliberate as to the best way to approach showing the connections between the subjects. Without a written curriculum in place, the teachers could not stand behind a school-wide curriculum that validated what they were teaching in their individual subject areas.

In October, the teachers brought this issue to the central administrator, asking that he answer the following four questions: (a) How should we develop the interdisciplinary curriculum—maps? themes? benchmarks? (b) May we have some vertical articulation of curriculum? (c) May we have more staff development and more input since we are the driving force of the implementation? and (d) Will we have continued support, such as remuneration for team planning time over the summer? The central administrator told the teachers that he would address their concerns at the next in-service day. When that day arrived, however, the teachers said that he spent less than 5 minutes on curriculum immediately before their break when no one wanted to ask questions and detain others from their lunch.

In addition, the lack of written curriculum added to the uncertainty of the model that the teachers created. Even in their team minutes from a meeting in the spring before the implementation, the teachers noted that a critical planning step to interdisciplinary teaching was to have a school-wide study of the curriculum and what was being taught. As the year of implementation progressed, the teachers began to question their ability to engage in interdisciplinary teaming the way they had originally decided. Also, the lack of a written curriculum kept them from believing that their model was "correct" vis a vis models they had seen presented at workshops in the spring and the model that the other 9th-grade team had devised. Gary articulated this uncertainty:

I think that is a big factor as far as what we need to look at curriculum wise because we have to decide, are we going to follow a curriculum by departments or are we going to be really creative and come up with a curriculum for 9th grade and then follow through with it for 10th grade, and maybe, I mean, we've been talking about setting benchmarks and doing those kinds of things. No one seems to have made those kind of decisions, and that's why I kind of feel we are floundering cause we have so many things in the air yet.

Even when the teachers from both 9th-grade teams met with the principal near the end of the school year, the lack of written curriculum remained at the forefront. When the principal asked the two teams to compose a mutual list of written objectives, Lew stated that objectives could not be written if a curriculum did not exist. The principal agreed and said that curriculum writing would have top priority the next school year, especially since they had to write curriculum to meet the self-study proponent of the upcoming Middle States evaluation.


The teachers felt a lack of day-to-day administrative leadership from the inception of the restructuring project. Although they received financial resources and release time during the spring and summer prior to the implementation, they felt that there was no administrative leadership to facilitate their endeavors. This lack of support from both building and central administration added to the difficulty of trying to implement a restructuring mandate that had unclear goals and magnified the teachers' uncertainty.

The administrators seemed to understand the needs of the teachers in terms of supplying the "concrete" items to facilitate the project, namely, time to plan lessons and activities, to write new assessment tools, and to communicate and coordinate with colleagues; budget to support curriculum development, staffing, and acquisition of materials; schedules to allow common planning time for teachers and to make teachers accessible to students. However, the teachers felt they needed leadership in terms of wilting curriculum and understanding interdisciplinary curriculum to facilitate the initiative. This lack of leadership was troubling and added to the uncertainty and intensity of their work.

Lew was able to articulate why the lack of guidance and support went beyond their own limitations and uncertainty to the bigger scheme of hurting education itself. He used the example of the way the other team was implementing interdisciplinary teaching. Since the other team of teachers chose to use Drake's model of interdisciplinary curriculum, they emphasized student choice over content. Therefore, if a theme was labeled "moral responsibility," the students were allowed to choose what they wished to study. Thus, some students were researching the Vietnam War while others were looking at another historical event. Lew who views history as content driven by chronology, did not agree with this method of interdisciplinary teaming if it meant losing content, such as the Holocaust. Given the laissez faire approach from the administration, Lew believed there was no forum to question these differences to arrive at the best model.

The teachers felt that it was the administrators' job to know what the teachers were doing. Corbett, Dawson, and Firestone (1984) report that building administrators can facilitate change by engaging in informal talks with the faculty, by discussing issues regarding the innovation at staff meetings, and by including staff progress toward the building or district goal on the formal evaluation. Both Tanya and Lew thought it was ironic that the administration discovered what they were doing through avenues other than directly observing or communicating with them.

Since the teachers did not receive any guidance or feedback from the administrators, they tended to look to others for support and to count on outside "scoops" to gauge their progress. One group they looked to for support was their fellow team members. Gary stated,

It was really nice having people there to support you and encourage you and give you idea and feedback. So I think, I wasn't sure how well that was going to work with five people trying to work together, and again I was pleased with the way things worked out with our team. I guess I was a little surprised by the lack of support we actually got from the administration, and basically we were kind of out there on our own.

Another source that gave them some acknowledgment was non-team teachers who heard the administration was pleased with the work being done. Although they appreciated the comments, they resented hearing them secondhand. Lew said,

I guess I was talking to one of the teachers yesterday, and it came out that it seemed the administration was pretty well pleased with what the teams had shown them in the work we had done over the summer, and so they are not concerned about observing us and what we are doing because they feel that we are on track, so they are going to spend a lot of their time observing individual teachers. My first comment was that I don't appreciate that because if I put that time in. . . I would like somebody to come along to see if that's what we are doing, if we are on the right track, and if that is the direction we are trying to go in. So, again, we are kind of left to ourselves.

The policy the administrators were following in not observing teachers who were on track made clear to the teachers that they were practicing a deficit model of teacher supervision and evaluation. The message was "no news is good news." Their final source of acknowledgment for the work they did came from their evaluation at the end of the year. Although they appreciated this praise, they felt it was too little, too late, and too in genuine. Tanya shared her feelings,

[Assistant principal] gave me this glowing report at the end of the year, and Lew got this wonderful report, and it just makes you feel like, well, I guess you are doing okay. All they had to do at the end of Jurassic Park was come up and say—it would've taken 15 minutes—tell

me the best part about Jurassic Park and that's really neat, wow! I just think they don't realize the power of that.


A theme that became increasingly prominent throughout the study was subject loyalty versus team allegiance. As the teachers struggled throughout the year to blend their curriculums, they became concerned with the loss of subject area content. This struggle between fulfilling content requirements and remaining loyal to the team's goal of interdisciplinary work created individual and group tension.

The mandate for interdisciplinary teaming did indeed allow the teachers to risk and experiment. It also did help assure for the administration effective implementation of the imposed restructuring project. However, the nature of interdisciplinary teaching created issues that undermined the teachers' individuality and caused them concern. Although it is a very common move in secondary restructuring efforts, attempting to move teachers into interdisciplinary teams and away from subject-centered departments typically creates conflict and threatens teacher identity to some degree (Sisken & Little, 1995).

The teachers did not sense an attack on their individual subject content. Instead, they felt remiss for the loss of content that was specific to their subject area and part of the common knowledge that, they believed, is requisite to an educated person. Hargreaves and Macmillan (1995) write that teachers employ conceptions of subject integrity to express their sentiments about restructuring endeavors. Teachers who see their subject as "defined, unitary, and sequential" are less likely to embrace interdisciplinary curricula than those who view their subjects as "open, flexible, multi-faceted, and nonlinear." Math and foreign languages emerge as being the most linear and sequential whereas English is seen as open and more flexible (Grossman Sc Stodolsky, 1995). This tension between the desire to be a cooperative team member and the desire to teach one's subject so that students acquired important content created inner tension that impacted John, Gary, and Martha most negatively but also had a negative impact on Tanya and Lew.

John resolved his inner conflict by the end of the year by deciding that he needed to remain loyal to science even if it meant relinquishing his position on the team. Upset with the lack of time to have students involved in science activities, the loss of content, and poor final exam test scores, John demonstrated how he reached his decision:

I'm not so sure about not covering as much content. I didn't get to a lot of things that I usually get to. I didn't get to meteorology, I didn't get to rocketry, and Fm not sure that's good. . . . It's the content that is important, and all that stuff that flows along with it . . . At the end of the school year, I am not happy with some of my students. I'm not happy with their attitude toward the exam. I'm not happy with how they did on the exam. I failed more students this time than I have in a long time. I failed seven students . . . I think I was stretched to the limit this year, and I'm not going to be stretched to the limit next year, and I'm going to be able to do activities, and I'm going to be able to do science in my room, or else I'm going to look for something else. I mean that's what I do and that's what I do well ... I don't know, maybe it's the end-of-the-year blues or something. . . . Maybe there has to be a better way to do this, mixing all these different groups and stuff. But I think if we have students who like science and want to do science, then damn it, we should offer courses that challenge those students and that really get those students involved and let them show their talents . . . My loyalty is science. That is my area. That is what I'm good at, and that's what I'm going to stay good at, and I can't give that up for teaming.

The other team members assumed that Lew and Tanya were satisfied with their content coverage since the team was using the curriculum that Lew and Tanya created. This belief, however, was not the case. Tanya explained why adding teachers to the team complicated her teaching:

I am happy to have more people aboard because we are doing a lot more. It is hard, though, because Lew and I understand what we can do and we have a system kind of in place. We want to do the Wild West unit and all these other units, yet getting everybody on aboard to those units might be a problem instead of creating new with everybody. We want to keep what we are doing the same. We know we can't do that. So we are going to have to change eventually. That has been difficult.

The teachers believed that covering their subject area content was their moral and professional duty. In addition, the teachers had their own beliefs about the most effective way to teach their subject content. Hargreaves (1994) found in his studies that any initial loyalty that teachers might have felt toward a group became subordinated to deeper department loyalties, especially when curriculum content came into conflict with the new initiative. The Apex teachers felt responsible for their students' receiving the requisite content in their discipline. Since John, Martha, and Gary were additions to the team, their struggle was more difficult. They knew that the thematic approach was one way to integrate the disciplines, but they did not know how to deliberate a way to create themes.

All the teachers except Lew came to believe that the historical approach was not the best model for them. They sensed that they needed broader, more encompassing themes, but they did not have an alternative plan. In addition, the lack of time to change in the middle of the implementation process added to the frustration and created more tension both intrapersonally and interpersonally.


The difficulties noted above, including the lack of a written curriculum, subject loyalty versus team allegiance, lack of understanding each other's content areas, and the decision to follow the historical-chronological model of integration made curriculum integration extremely difficult. Most of the curriculum units during the course of the year were marked by close integration of history and English and sporadic coordination with the other three subjects. In general, John, Gary, and Martha followed their own subject-specific curriculum and fit into the history-English integration every once in a while when they saw some commonality.

The Apex teachers, however, were extremely proud of two particular interdisciplinary units that they were able to develop over the course of the year. The first unit, Jurassic Park, was designed during the 100 hours of paid summer curriculum work; whereas the second, The Holocaust, was designed during the course of the regular school year. All the members of the team saw both units as being very well integrated across content areas, although in each case one team member felt that his subject had played a relatively minor role. Even though there were differences in the depth of individual pride concerning the two units, all of the teachers pointed to them as the team's shining moments. Though the other units on Immigration, The Wild West, and World War I were gratifying for individual teachers, none of these units was considered to be real team successes.


Jurassic Park was the brainchild of John, the science teacher. He had encountered the idea at a National Science Teachers Association Conference and came back to school intent on having the other teachers adopt this theme for one of the units. Though none of the other teachers was particularly enamored of the idea initially, they all eventually agreed to give it a try. Their agreement was based on the fact that John was displaying genuine enthusiasm about the teaming prospects for the first time, and no one wanted to discourage him.

In his science classes, John used Jurassic Park as an opportunity to focus on the scientific method, paleontology, evolution, fossils, plant and animal classification, and critical thinking. In a simulated dinosaur dig activity, the students played the role of paleontologists. Using small wooden utensils, the students dug through plastic shoe boxes filled with sand and basal wood "bones" of dinosaur fossils to construct the model of the dinosaur from the "bones" they excavated and to conduct research in the library or on the Internet to find out what type of dinosaur they had constructed.

A second science activity was the fossil preservation activity. Capitalizing on the book's premise that fossilized insects could be used to produce dinosaur DMA, John explained the basic notions about DNA and the preservation process. He then conducted an activity in which students preserved their own captured insects in "amber," After collecting bugs, students used ice cube trays and casting resin to preserve these already dead insects in cubes of amber.

Martha, the foreign language teacher, began the school year studying the geography of several Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, beginning with Costa Rica, the setting of the novel. She also used the novel to sharpen students' Spanish pronunciation. She found a Spanish translation of the novel and used the Spanish cognates for many of the dinosaurs to help her students understand the differences in pronunciation between Spanish and English. She believed that by starting with the cognates, her students would see the task as achievable since the words looked like English. It also provided an opportunity to compare and contrast various vowel sounds within the two languages.

The major activity in English was the reading of the novel. Tanya illustrated a variety of concepts, including characterization, plot, point of view, and literary devices, such as personification and foreshadowing. She also gave her students a variety of other possible activities in which to engage. She assigned each activity a certain number of points and required students to choose activities whose point value added up to a specific point total. Optional activities included character sketches, role playing, creating commercials for the novel, creating music about the novel, writing a eulogy for one of the characters, writing a children's book about Jurassic Park and reading it to a group of elementary children, writing poetry about the novel, writing an editorial about the establishment of a Jurassic Park in the United States, and drawing cartoons or caricatures depicting scenes and characters in the novel. As a result of these optional activities, several children's books were written and read in the elementary classroom, and a variety of posters, eulogies, short stories, and cartoons were displayed in the hallway showcases between Tanya's and Lew's rooms. These activities and hallway displays brought a great deal of notoriety to the Apex teachers throughout the entire school. Teachers, administrators, visitors, and we, the researchers, were impressed by the quality of student work.

Lew was able to accommodate this theme by focusing on learning and thinking skills that he knew would be important to succeed in his classes in United States history. He emphasized the following skills in his unit: timelines, summary writing and note taking, comparing and contrasting, cause-and-effect relationships, outlining, research skills, and political cartooning. Some examples included developing timelines of key events in each section of the text, identifying a variety of cause-and-effect relationships within the text, and researching particular topics introduced in the novel

Gary incorporated Jurassic Park in to his algebra and prealgebra curriculum in the following ways: a brief discussion of fractals and chaos theory, the use of some data drawn from the novel for graphing activities, and the creation of a 40 foot timeline of history. It was the life size Tyrannosaurus Rex activity, however that really put Team Apex on the local map. The project began with an 8 by 10 inch drawing of a T-Rex. Gary decided that he could use this activity to help his students better understand scale, ratios, and proportions, as well as give them a much better understanding of the size of real dinosaurs. The first step was for students to conduct research to identify the actual size of a T-Rex. Using the previous work that they had accomplished through the activities in John's class (as previously discussed), students decided that a T-Rex would be about 24 feet high. Gary decided that the only way to impress the students with the massive size of a T-Rex was to actually recreate a 24-foot dinosaur somewhere on the school property. Students worked together to create a scale for the dinosaur on the school's parking lot, dividing the scale into rectangles that corresponded to rectangles on an enlarged poster version of the 8 by 10 drawing, and then painting, in pairs, several of the rectangles on the parking lot.

The school's public relations office heard of this parking lot activity and sent a notice to local newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks. On the day that Gary's students were applying the finishing touches to their life size T-Rex, three film crews appeared from three different local TV stations. They filmed students as they painted, interviewed students about the project, and also interviewed Gary. All three stations aired two- or three-minute segments about the project on their local news shows that night. The teachers and students in Team Apex became local celebrities overnight.

The culminating activity for the teachers and students was a field trip to a museum of natural history. The guide began her lecture assuming a low level of understanding on the part of the students. As she began to ask questions and students responded accurately and confidently, the level of complexity in her description grew by the minute. Midway through her talk she was so impressed with the students understanding that she brought out a real dinosaur fossil instead of the plastic replica that was normally used for such talks. She informed the group that their clear understanding of what paleontologists do and how important fossil preservation is had convinced her that she could risk bringing out a real fossil.

The combination of the students' behavior at the museum, the notoriety gained by the hallway displays and local TV coverage, and the fact that all the teachers were able to incorporate some Jurassic Park content into their respective disciplines convinced the teachers that the unit was a resounding success. Although the Jurassic Park unit would fall short of true curriculum integration as some theorists see it (e.g. Beane, 1995; Drake, 1993), for Gary, Martha, and John it did represent a first attempt at crossing subject boundaries. They ventured in to this territory cautiously and planned for it diligently during the summer. Their efforts were rewarded, and they were convinced by their own reactions, by their students' reactions, and by accolades received from others that the venture had been a great success.


The Holocaust unit represented a second high point for the team in terms of curriculum integration. Though John opted not to participate in this unit, the other four members of the team viewed it as a great success. The unit focused around the theme of the children of the Holocaust and was developed jointly by Lew, Tanya, Martha, and Gary. These four team members all felt a great deal of individual ownership for this particular unit, in contrast to all the other units that were taught during the year

The central integration structure consisted of students and teachers reading the novel, My Name is Eenee, the story of Ruth Hartz, a Holocaust survivor. This novel depicts the plight of a young Jewish girl who flees with her family into France during the Nazi persecution and is eventually hidden away by her mother in a Catholic convent. The child protagonist, who is now a mature educator who lives within 100 miles of the school, spoke with the students after they read the novel. Apex students in foreign language studied the impact of World War II on France and Spain. The French students learned how the Holocaust played itself out in France, and the Spanish students compared the Holocaust to the Spanish Inquisition. In social studies, students researched the lives of particular children who died during the Holocaust, wrote papers about their lives, and then wrote and acted out skits that depicted historical events in the lives of these children. In English class, students read the novel and wrote short stories and poems depicting the events of the Holocaust for children.

Gary developed a project that brought much attention to the team. He found a coffin-like box with a plastic covering on the top. He challenged his students to find a way to figure out the volume of this irregular structure and then to estimate how many sunflower seeds would be required to fill it. After working on the problem for several days, Gary and the students actually filled the "coffin" with sunflower seeds and placed it in the hallway between Lew's and Tanya's rooms with a sign informing all who passed by that each of the sunflower seeds represented a certain number of the more than one million children who had died in the Holocaust. Gary and one of the agricultural education teachers worked out a plan to plant a million sunflower seeds, each sunflower representing one child, and the harvested seeds after the sunflower seeds had grown would represent a lost generation of children. The Apex teachers arranged a ceremony to honor the children of the Holocaust. This ceremony consisted of Apex students planting several thousand seeds by hand (the rest were planted by machine) and reading poems that they had written about the Holocaust. Again, news of this event was communicated to the local media by the school's public relations office, and Team Apex students and teachers appeared on the local news shows again. Several of the student poems were reprinted in the major newspaper that serves the surrounding metropolitan region. The culminating event for this unit was a field trip to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

Though the unit was not perfect by any means and despite John's inability to participate in it, the other Apex teachers saw this unit as a resounding success. It boosted their morale and reinforced their purpose—especially through the course of a year that had been filled with disappointments, conflicts, and tensions. It allowed the teachers to move toward the end of the year again feeling that they had been able to accomplish some important goals for their students.



The five teachers engaged in this restructuring effort wanted to implement the initiative because of their commitment to their students rather than to the initiative itself. Glickman (1993) writes professionalism that breeds collegial schools are characterized by interactions that focus on the teaching and learning of students. The teachers were emotionally interconnected by their ethic of responsibility and caring for their students, but logically fragmented by their inability to implement an undefined initiative. Although they tried to impose both an individual and a team reality on the initiative, their lack of a common realm of understanding thwarted their efforts. This desire to improve student learning increasingly frustrated them and zapped their energy and enthusiasm as they continued to implement an initiative that they did not fully understand. Their strong feelings of craft pride and deep commitment to the welfare of their students exacerbated the effects of uncertainty and doubt for these teachers. If they had not cared so much about their students, the uncertainty would not have been so debilitating.

Because they were emotionally interconnected by their commitment to their students, the teachers were able to collaborate effectively on those issues that they understood and valued. They realized throughout the course of the year that some issues were non-collaborative, non-negotiable because their subject content and teaching techniques were fundamentally different and more aligned to their individual disciplines than to the team itself. Therefore, the teachers collaborated on those issues that were student-related and engaged in contrived collegiality in issues directly related to interdisciplinary teaming.

The top-down mandate did not allow teacher ownership in the restructuring initiative or understanding of how to implement it. Without input, the teachers did not know the mission, purpose or goals of the project and felt that their concerns and expertise were insignificant. The lack of a written curriculum added to the uncertainty and left the teachers unable to create an understanding requisite to feeling competent and comfortable in implementing the initiative. With the school's past history of adopting change, the teachers struggled between the difficulty of implementing an unclear initiative and the feelings of possible abandonment of the initiative.

The lack of any concrete plans for evaluation and the lack of any administrative attempt to study the effectiveness of the restructuring initiative also led teachers to believe that it was the appearance of change that mattered to administrators rather than the quality of student learning that resulted from the change effort. They perceived a real dichotomy between their intentions and those of administrators. They saw themselves as being in it for students whereas administrators were simply in it to appear to be on the cutting edge of innovation.

Their uncertainty was exacerbated by the lack of administrative leadership. The administration was not visible and supportive from the planning stages of the restructuring through the implementation and assessment of it. Without this support, the teachers remained unsure of their technical skills and effectiveness. The lack of school-wide dialogue and deliberation in any areas of the restructuring endeavor left the team of teachers isolated from their other colleagues during their implementation efforts. Also, because of the lack of support, the teachers felt emotionally "shunned," which deepened their frustration when they felt unable to implement the undefined initiative.


Ownership, Commitment, and Understanding

Much of the literature on change explains top-down mandates as most difficult to implement because teachers do not feel ownership of the initiative and therefore do not exert a great deal of effort in implementing it (Fullan, 1991; Hargreaves, 1994; Sikes, 1992). In this case, however, lack of initial ownership did not lead to a lack of effort in implementation. In spite of all the difficulties the teachers faced implementing this initiative, they remained committed to developing an interdisciplinary curriculum that would benefit their students. Their year-long attempts at implementing the initiative were based solely on their belief that perhaps implementing this initiative would have a positive effect on student learning. It was the only compelling reason they had to implement the initiative. They attempted to piece together what they did not understand and had only their trial-and-error efforts to gauge their practice. When they were unable to elicit feedback from the administration, they turned to student evaluations of the program and "rumors" of the administration's satisfaction with their work. The key to their perseverance was their commitment to their students and their craft. What made implementation so troublesome was not lack of ownership and effort but rather lack of understanding. Because they had no input into the decision-making process and no time to really study the proposed restructuring initiative, the teachers had no real understanding of its purpose and goals. Their lack of input and involvement thwarted the change effort not through a resultant lack of effort and enthusiasm but through a resultant lack of conceptual understanding.

This study suggests that teachers may not need to be committed to a specific innovation for them to expend energy toward implementing it. Commitment to students' welfare, not a sense of ownership of the initiative, seemed to be a much more critical factor. This commitment to students, however, cannot transcend the frustration and eventual surrender to the seeming impossibility of implementation if teachers do not understand the initiative as it has been mandated. Developing a deep understanding of the initiative in terms of its meaning, purpose, and technical requirements remains critical.


Collaboration was a perplexing issue that unfolded over the course of the year. The teachers engaged in contrived collaboration (Hargreaves, 1994) in terms of the interdisciplinary teaching. By the middle of the school year, the teachers seemed to have decided individually how they could and would fit into the interdisciplinary scheme. By the end of the year, they were no longer meeting routinely, and no one tried to reinstate the meetings although all expressed concern about the stoppage.

The unique slant in this context, however, is that the teachers continued to collaborate on general issues that affected them as a team irrespective of the interdisciplinary work. They wanted to work with each other in spite of the obstacles of the initiative. Therefore, they chose to collaborate on the common issues of how to better meet the needs of individual students and how to improve the quality of Me for the team. In other words, the teachers guarded their individuality in order to retain the integrity of their subject area, yet they formed an effective union to collaborate on those issues where they found common ground.

The teachers remained intact as a core who shared concerns about the cognitive and affective domains of their mutual team of students. This phenomenon suggests that true collaboration does not have to encompass every aspect of teachers' work. Instead, teachers may feel comfortable collaborating on those aspects in which they share common goals and philosophies. Teachers do not have to collaborate on all issues to work together, and administrators should look for the ties that can bind groups of teachers and nurture those relationships. This view of collaboration would allow teachers to maintain their individuality yet pool their expertise to affect a wider range of students and place emphasis on the emotional commitment to students, the critical component when teachers implement an initiative.


The teachers in this study tried diligently and persistently to implement the initiative in spite of having no input in the planning stages. Their lack of representation in the planning stages, however, created a void in their understanding of the initiative in terms of purpose, goals, and technical skills. This lack of understanding heightened their uncertainty about their ability and effectiveness and impeded their progress in spite of their strong desire to "do it right."

Although teacher uncertainty is a natural aspect of the teaching profession (Lortie, 1975), it is heightened when change is first being implemented (Fullan 1991, Hargreaves, 1994). Bolman and Deal (1991) write that change creates feelings of incompetence and insecurity because it undercuts people's ability to perform their work with confidence and success. Fullan (1991) adds that the difficulty of learning new skills and behavior and unlearning old ones is underestimated and that changes in beliefs, practice, and methods represent profound changes that affect teachers' professional self-development.

This study demonstrated that teachers do not necessarily become more certain through implementation. In other words, practice does not make perfect. Instead, without leaders to assist teachers in understanding an initiative and to guide them throughout the implementation, teachers may become more uncertain as time passes. This greater uncertainty may occur from not seeing desired results and/or not feeling more comfortable as they progress in the implementation. It is in the critical stage of implementation, then, that teachers will decide individually if they will continue their efforts in the restructuring endeavor. If the uncertainty is exacerbated, their frustration will cause them to abandon the initiative or, at best, to adapt the initiative rather than adopt it. In addition, the teachers may resent their struggle and the feelings of inadequacy that the struggle creates.

The teachers' desire to maintain the integrity and rigor of their subject content was a struggle which was aggravated by the separation from their department members. The teachers did not have the understanding or skills requisite to deliberate and formulate an interdisciplinary curriculum. Their lack of technical knowledge, skills, and experience in interdisciplinary curriculum was a major obstacle to their attempts to integrate the curriculum in this case. As subject area individuals on the team, they felt responsible to advocate for the importance of their content in relationship to the interdisciplinary themes. The teachers felt trapped in a catch-22, trying to balance their two loyalties while remaining unsure as to which allegiance could better meet the needs of their students. The lack of a clear understanding of the initiative and their lack of technical knowledge and skills in interdisciplinary curriculum exacerbated their uncertainty.

Although this particular context did not live up to its enormous potential, the case is instructive in pointing out important lessons that change facilitators must address in order to increase the likelihood that planned change can be realized. These important factors include the following: the power of focusing on teachers' commitment to their students' welfare as the focus for their efforts instead of commitment to a particular innovation; the necessity of having participants develop a deep understanding of the goals of the initiative, as well as the need to continually refine a shared vision of how those goals will be realized; the need for a well-developed evaluation component that can be used to guide implementation efforts as well as to assess the impact of the initiative; the need to recognize the non-linear nature of teacher collaboration and to capitalize on opportunities for true collegial interaction as opposed to mandating contrived collegial interactions; the need for participants to develop technical knowledge and skills that will equip them with the capacity to implement the initiative well; and the utilization of the shared vision and goals, the ongoing evaluation process, and the true collaboration to decrease the endemic uncertainty of change. Only when these factors are acknowledged and addressed can change efforts begin to realize their full potential.


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DENISE G. MEISTER is an assistant professor of education at Penn State University, Harrisburg. JIM NOLAN, JR. is a professor of education at Penn State University, University Park. They are co-authors of a book entitled, "Teachers and Educational Change: The Lived Experience of Secondary School Restructuring."

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 4, 2001, p. 608-633
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10778, Date Accessed: 1/27/2022 9:02:58 AM

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About the Author
  • Denise Meister
    Penn State University
    E-mail Author
    DENISE G. MEISTER is an assistant professor of education at Penn State University, Harrisburg. She is the co-author (with Jim Nolan, Jr.) of the forthcoming book entitled, "Teachers and Educational Change: The Lived Experience of Secondary School Restructuring."
  • Jim Nolan Jr.
    Penn State University
    E-mail Author
    JIM NOLAN, JR. is an associate professor of education at Penn State University, University Park. He is the co-author (along with Denise G. Meister) of a forthcoming book entitled, "Teachers and Educational Change: The Lived Experience of Secondary School Restructuring."
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