Teacher nostalgia and the sustainability of reform: the generation and degeneration of teachers’ missions, memory, and meaning

Ivor Goodson, S. Moore, A. Hargreaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article focuses on the sustainability of reform through the lens of teachers’ nostalgia —the major form of memory among a demographically dominant cohort of experienced older teachers. Unwanted change evokes senses of nostalgia for these lost missions that take both social and political forms. As teachers get older, their responses to change are influenced by processes of degeneration (loss of commitment, energy, enthusiasm, etc), but also by the agendas of the generation — historically situated missions formed decades ago that teachers have carried with them throughout their careers. Findings indicate that the effects of cumulative demographic and educational change and the resulting nostalgias have left teachers feeling resistant to mandated reform, insecure about their own professional capacity, disenchanted with their students, and pessimistic about their schools’ future. The results of this research have practical implications for policy makers, administrators, and classroom teachers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-61
Number of pages20
JournalEducation Administration Quarterly
Volume42
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006

Keywords

  • educational policy
  • change over time
  • sustainability of reform
  • teachers’ memory and nostalgia
  • teachers’ missions
  • resistance to change
  • theory of change

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