Barriers to change encountered by family and consumer sciences teachers in a curriculum reform effort

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Odhiambo, Susan
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Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

The successful implementation of a curriculum reform effort is not without considerable barriers. To be effective, change efforts need more than the development of materials and procedures. They require attention to and involvement of the people who administer these changes. Knowledge of the barriers they may face in their efforts to implement change facilitates the adoption of those changes. The research question guiding this study was: What are the perceived barriers to change encountered by family and consumer sciences teachers involved in a curriculum reform effort? In order to obtain in-depth personal accounts of change experiences and barriers encountered, fifty-three teachers involved in a curriculum reform effort kept a journal of their reactions and feelings regarding change. Chronological case data analysis was used to identify themes, trends and significance in individual teachers' journals. Cross case data analysis was conducted to compare findings between individual teachers.;Patterns, similarities, and differences were identified. Four categories of barriers emerged from the analysis: resources, readiness, beliefs/attitudes, and professional. Resources barriers included: knowledge, time, financial resources and alternative approaches. The barrier of readiness involved personal costs, commitment, professional growth and collaboration, empowerment and administrative support. Beliefs/Attitudes about the value of the innovative program and perceptions of self-efficacy determined teachers' receptivity to changes in the curriculum and were often a barrier. Professional barriers to change included lack of clarity as to the specifics of change in family and consumer sciences as well as lack of professionalism amongst the professionals. The results of this study contribute current data to the knowledge base of program development for family and consumer sciences education, enhance teacher preparation and provide a basis for designing more effective staff development programs.

Wed Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1997