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Managing Change in Education

Change is inevitable and constant. In the educational context, it is no different. In the 17th century, attending school was not seen as a requirement as societal norms emphasized the need for children to help at home with family duties. During the 19th and 20th centuries, there was a transformation in the educational arena as the “privileged” and religious supporters were the beneficiaries of formal education. As time progressed, education became mandatory for all people irrespective of their socio-economic background, to be given a fair chance to excel.


So, What Exactly Is Educational Change?

Fullan (2016) described educational change as, “the capacity to initiate, establish and diffuse advancements in the educational and pedagogical field”. Furthermore, Burner (2018) expressed, “there are at least three reasons why educational change is necessary:

  1. increased globalisation,
  2. advancements in technology,
  3. developments in research into teaching and learning approaches”.

Sometimes educational authorities are unsure of how to respond to change, or sometimes they reject the proposed change, thus anxiety is created. Perhaps, authorities could consider using Kurt Lewin’s Change Model. There are three steps in the process:

Step 1: Unfreezing – begins by preparing the organisation for the change. Here, management communicates to the staff the reasons for the change, they share the new vision, they seek buy-in and they welcome the employees’ feedback.

Step 2: Change – implementation of the new change. Throughout this phase, employees should be involved in the process, be frequently reminded of the benefits of the new change, and afforded opportunities to ask any questions.

Step 3: Refreeze – this stage is to advise and support employees during this “new” approach. Leaders can strengthen this step by listening to the employees’ concerns, offering support and reinforcing the desired change.

As educational experts carefully follow these three steps, employees are:

  • likely to embrace the change,
  • be inclined to support the new norm as they witness time being taken to address their doubts and insecurities, and
  • they are likely to feel appreciated and valued as their feelings and competencies are considered in this process.


Change could be a success, or failure, as persons respond to changes differently. Shen (2008) conveyed that, “it has been recognized that not all change is improvement, but all improvement involves change”. Education stakeholders who are amenable to change, foster opportunities for improvement in the quality of lifelong learning. Kurt Lewin’s Change Model is just one model that educational authorities could explore when they seek to manage changes in their respective educational environments.


By: Quality Assurance Officer, Sergio Alleyne B.Sc., Dip.Ed., M.Ed.



Burner, T. (2018). Why is educational change so difficult and how could we make it more effective?

From Forskning og Forandring:

Fullan, M. (2016). The NEW meaning of educational change (5th ed.). New York,

London, London, New York, Toronto: Teachers College Press; Routledge; Ontario

Principals’ Council. Retrieved from


Shen, Y. (2008). The Effect of Changes and Innovation on Educational Improvement. International

              Education Studies .

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