M. Fullan on the New Meaning of Educational Change


In Fullan’s fourth edition, educational change in consideration with emerging knowledge of the change process has been reexamined. Fullan cites that for change to occur, particular factors must be taken into consideration. The relevance of relationship, motivation and meaning in sustained and effective educational change is noted in this fourth edition. Critically as opposed to what Fullan states, change needs time, progressive support, and effort. Individuals should have a clear experience of the change proposed before understanding what the actual change is. I believe that an individual may easily believe in change through achieving the change successfully and experiencing it. Fullan states that it is the belief that underlies actions. This means that for an initiative involved in the change to be successful, the time factor is of the essence. It is to allow people to spend some time believing the change. According to Fullan, educators must have various beliefs for a successful change to occur. Fullan, therefore, asserts that motivation is vital to change, educators must believe that the change proposed can easily occur, but is this enough, critically I would say those involved need to be shown real motivation and lead examples to embrace the change. Educators also need to indicate to those involved that the change is of great essence. They have to trust in it and believe that it makes sense. This is only possible when the meaning of the proposed change is elaborated. In our daily lives, everyone would be happy to see the changes they make succeed. Success is significant to everything we do. Whenever we succeed in our endeavors, we get motivated. Fullan argues that for an effective change to occur there should at least be an experience of particular success with some previous changes. With this in mind, the educators will have confidence among themselves that the change is likely to be successful depending on the previous factors and incidences that made the previous initiative a success.

Main body

According to Fullan, a professional community of learning is a vehicle that provides effective support to the educators in the process of implementing the change in practice. In the process of making a gripping case for collaborative practices as a way of backing up the educators’ practice, the difficulty of being within the school emerges in the collaboration. In any case, Fullan points out the setbacks associated with such collaborations. Fullan has made an identification of the factors playing against the professional learning communities. He also provokes readers to consider such factors. There is something that Fullan collaborates and I believe it is true about the changes in educational sectors. He asserts that students have to form the central part of the change proposed. The collaborative practices form the key to sustainable changes supporting the students learning. Critically, these arguments should be backed up and validated with active research.

Change is difficult because of too much inertia experienced in most of the school systems. Fullan’s fourth edition is very influential by the radical reforms of the 21st Century; it covers the leading and dilemmas in ideas for prospering vast systemic reforms. Fullan made his text based on fundamental work with the system of education found in various countries. In my opinion, this book forms an ultimate compendium to the concepts of the management of educational change that is a powerful resource to the involved parties in the school reforms. He describes the system of education as a whole citing various examples of where and how the changes in the educational system succeed and fail. This book is a discussion where the reader is given chance to engage his/her thoughts in the reform process. A lot of powerful statements have been made in this book. A statement that I strongly believe capture the mechanisms and spirits of transformation is where he states that for implementation of change to occur effectively in the educational system, there must be a large scale and long term commitment in which the essence of such transition is understood by everyone and shared amongst themselves. Permeable systems should also work uniformly in all levels from top to bottom, individuals in classes to districts to provinces and beyond.

Critically, change is met with uncertainty and ambivalence in most cases. According to Fullan, it is the fear we possess of the unknown that makes us avoid challenging others and ourselves. I think administrators and teachers have to be aware of exactly what they are up to and stay on the same page. In absence of this, it would be difficult for any progress to occur as much as change is concerned. This happens in most cases when it is not their original brainchild. In my opinion, this proves that educators do not shy away from change, but they are unable or just unwilling to accept questions and/ or critics in the way they do their things. I think this is one of the prevalent challenges that prevent the educational reforms and create educational centers where individuals are separated by their inability to endure self-exposure of their intercollegiate input. I also believe that educators would like to operate their classes as they please and that if no one is out to challenge them, there won’t be a single room for change.

According to Fullan, the teachers have no opportunity of becoming the best educators. The detriment in such a case is to the students. I believe that this refers to even social and academic learning. Teachers have the notion that the best way to learn and have the best growth of mind is via experience, and in most cases shared experience. I think if educators stop working with their peers or disconnect from the growing bodies of science and literature that redefine how people understand education, not even the best will remain standing. All will be prey to outdated, repetitious, and uninspired educational methodologies. There are great teachers and that is really what we need to make students soar. Bad educators keep them afloat. I think schools should not only work from nine to five but also work overtime disciplining, organizing, and teaching after-school activities. For an effective change in the educational system, I think there should be satisfactory compensation for what the teachers do. Whenever the educators are not satisfied with what they earn, they tend to look for over time alternatives and this leads to unqualified teachers finding their ways into the classrooms. Others will resort to strikes and campaigns. This makes teachers work precisely and do not coach sports or any other co-curricular activities.


Although a lot of work to be done is pending on all levels, I think Fullan has addressed almost all the challenges and problems in the modern educational system. He has also offered various areas of change and improvement. Fullan describes his movement by values and qualities such as respect, confidence, competence, and integrity. He believes that change is possible although it is limited by various problems like the dynamics of the population. He accepts that there is not a single immediate solution to such problems and that they must be attended to on daily basis with a lot of effort. I would therefore assert that with collective efforts toward the challenges faced in changing the education system, there is hope in shared meaning and solidarity.


Fullan, M. (2007). The New Meaning of Educational Change: Fourth Edition, London, Teachers College Press