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Anthony Muhammad contends that in order to transform school culture, we must examine and understand educators' motivation for hanging on to paradigms that are contrary to those articulated by their school or district. In this book, Dr. Muhammad explores many aspects of human behavior, social conditions, and history.
Drawing upon his study of 34 schools (11 elementary, 14 middle, and 9 high schools) from around the country, Dr. Muhammad describes the underlying tensions that impact culture among four different groups of educators in a school. Much of the book is devoted to introducing readers to these groups:
The Believers are those who are committed to the learning of each student and who operate under the assumption that their efforts can make an enormous difference in that learning.
The Fundamentalists are preservers of the status quo.
The Tweeners are members of a staff who are typically new to a school and are attempting to learn its prevailing culture.
The Survivors are those who have been so overwhelmed by the stress and demands of the profession that their primary goal becomes making it through the day, the week, and the year.
Dr. Muhammad describes the prevailing beliefs and assumptions of each of these groups and the dynamics within and among the groups. He argues that it is the outcome of these dynamics that will ultimately determine the culture of a school. He provides specific strategies for working with each group of educators to transform school culture and intentionally create positive atmospheres that not only tolerate change, but also seek and embrace the changes that maximize organizational effectiveness.
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