Factors causing resistance to educational change
Summarise the article "Teacher resistance to educational change in the United Arab Emirate" by Ibrahim.
The article investigated the four factors that may be the reason for the resistance that is portrayed by the teachers towards the educational change in the UAE. These four factors include the personal factors, those related to the school culture, personal factors and the organizational factors. The United Arab Emirates educational systems have been undergoing tremendous changes with respect to the rhetoric of decentralization. The change in the system had taken birth after the education ministry had delegated the Abu Dhabi Education Council or the ADEC with the responsibility of education in the region of Abu Dhabi. The article suggests that the teachers involved in the study were supportive of the change and felt that the principals of and the other agents who advocated the change. The teachers needed to be psychologically prepared to be exposed to the proposed change as they were apprehensive of the outcomes that may follow the implementation of the change. The frequent implementations of various changes had already exhausted the teachers. The study had also pointed out that the implementation of the English language as a medium of instruction had led the teachers to face a huge amount of difficulties in helping the slow-learners to grasp the studies that were brought forward by the recently imposed curriculum.
The efforts of the changes that are made by the ADEC face many obstacles that rise from the end of the administrators, teachers, parents or guardians and the students. The most important of these obstacles is the one that arises from the end of the teacher. The teacher, in most of the cases, resists a change based on the administration and the initiation of the change. In case of the changes that were implemented on the curriculum, the teachers adapted to those parts of the change that they found themselves acquainted with. Observations revealed that they were distressed due to the parts of the curriculum on which they needed to devote extra amount of effort. The same observation was recorded for the changes that were implemented on the methods of teaching. A group of teachers believed that the traditional teaching methods were advantageous over the ones that the Education Council was trying to implement.
The purpose of this paper was to examine the factors that were responsible for the resistance of the teachers towards the change in the patterns of education in the government schools of Al-Ain region. The study in discussion, as mentioned above, specifically aims to find out the underlying factors that are responsible for the resistance of the teachers towards the changes in the educational patterns that are currently taking place in the government schools in the Al-Ain region of the United Arab Emirates (Ibrahim, Al-Kaabi and El-Zaatari 2013). This study had concentrated on the government schools situated in Al-Ain region only and thus is not capable to be generalized across all the territories that fall under the United Arab Emirates. The resistance towards the change in the educational pattern has been a significant problem that does exist within the educational societies all over the world. This has been one of the main challenges that needs to be overcome in order to successfully implement the change in the education systems.
Importance of involving teachers in planning and training
Educational change refers to the developments of the skills, knowledge and the disposition of the teachers, the students and the other administrative officials. These changes help the present education system to strive in the ever-changing and competitive global society. Literature has been extensively reviewed in order to aid the identification of the various factors that have been instrumental in the resistance of the change by the teachers. The teachers had to transfer from a known realm to an unknown one thereby triggering the feelings of discomfort and doubts in them. Researchers have also suggested that the teachers may consider that the reforms might threaten their professional identities. They may also resist the change if they had not been allowed the proper time span that should have been allowed in order to get themselves accustomed to the changes. Research portrays that a teacher may be resisting the change in the educational system due to the disagreement of the changes with the skills and specialties of the concerned teacher. The values and norms that are related to the change must be in agreement with the basic values and the culture of the targeted organization. The resistance to the change may also be avoided by training the teachers on the different components of the change as well as helping them to stay aware of the upcoming changes that are about to take place.
The main findings of the authors may be listed as below.
- The teachers were overwhelmed about the changes that were incorporated. Most of the changes did not pertain to the activity of teaching. The teachers were also observed to have been worried about the fact that the school hours would get prolonged. The most important change needed was the change in the psychology of the teachers. They needed to be psychologically stable in order to implement the change. The teachers were observed to be highly interested in the changes that were to be implemented in the educational system.
- The teachers who participated in the survey brought to the surface that they might be facing while implementing the curriculum changes. They put forward the problem that many of the students were not ready to use the English language. They also added that the changes that needed to be implemented need to abide by the norms that are set by the United Arab Emirates. The teachers have expressed their support towards the need for the change in the education system that is being currently followed in the United Arab Emirates.
- The teachers brought to the limelight the fact that the change has been implemented on them and that they were not a part of the planning procedures that the implemented changes had to go through. The teachers preferred the principals who encouraged collaborative nature at work in order to help the successful implementation of the change in the educational system. There should be a regular and effective communication between the teachers and the principal and the concerned authorities in order to guide and support the teachers in the implementation of the change.
- The teachers opined that the changes that need to be brought about should be tested at a smaller level before implementing them on the total system. They argued that the changes must be brought about at a gradual pace and the goals set should be achievable and realistic. The teachers also complained about the lack of proper communication between the ADEC, the districts of the schools and the administration of the schools.
In the article in discussion, the authors discuss the fact that though the teachers want the change in the education and are willing to be a part of the same, yet they seem to complain about the ways in which the changes are brought about. Researches have brought to limelight the fact that the teachers seem to resist the changes whenever they feel that the change is not necessary for the students. The teachers were also found to be unhappy about the added responsibilities that they had to face as well as the prolonged working hours. The teachers felt left out because they were not involved in the process of planning that preceded the implementation of the plan. It seemed that the changes were imposed on them and they lacked the appropriate training that they should have in order to follow the change that have been set by the authorities. The principal of the institution may be considered to be the agents who advocate the need of the change in an institution. They play very important roles in the motivation of the teachers to accept the change in the processes thereby aiding the creation of a culture in the schools. The appointment of foreign teachers in the schools may also lead to the resistance of the existing teachers, who may feel that the behavioral and cultural patters that are followed by the foreign teachers may contradict the conservative cultures followed by the students. Researches also suggest that the lack of support and guidance during the change implementation may also lead the teachers to resist the changes.
The impact of curriculum and teaching method changes on resistance
Conclusions by the author
The authors concluded their study on the note that the changes that were implemented by the ADEC would face more resistance from the teachers if the changes were not planned well. The involvement of the teachers would lessen the resistance from the teachers. The teachers should be provide with proper training that is required in order to implement the proposed changes. There should exist the prevalence of the willingness to change, the existence of a culture that fosters learning and a system of rewarding in order to lower the resistance of the teachers towards the proposed changes of the ADEC. The implemented changes should be well-directed in order to achieve the desired results in the education system. The teachers should be involved in the planning of the change. They should be provided with adequate training in order to help them implement the change. The teachers need to be favorable to the idea of the change that the UAE government is planning to implement in the educational system. There should be provisions for a rewarding system that works in the support of the implemented changes. The frequent changes in the curricula might aid the creation of the feelings of distrust among the teachers who are employed in the government schools. The implemented changes in the curricula should not interfere with the cultural and the social ideologies of the educational institutions.
The ADEC officials, the superintendents of the schools and the principals must spend more time for the alleviation of the fears of the teachers regarding the consequences of the changes that have been undertaken by the government schools in the Al-Ain region. The +teachers should be well versed with the rationale behind the implementation of the change. The policy-makers should review the curricula to make it more acceptable to the needs of the students. The curricula should also be aligned to the academic requirements of the students as well as the culture of the United Arab Emirates. There should be involvement of the employees on an administrative level to judge their reactions on implemented changes in the educational system. Researchers and investigators should be urged to replicate their study on the implemented changes in the educational system in the various other schools in the districts in the country. A deep exploration of the adversities encountered during the implementation of the change using a qualitative research design is necessary
Ibrahim, A.S., Al-Kaabi, A. and El-Zaatari, W., 2013. Teacher resistance to educational change in the United Arab Emirates. International Journal of Research Studies in Education, 2(3), pp.25-36.
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