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Transforming School Culture: How to Overcome Staff Division

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  164 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Busy administrators will appreciate this quick read packed with immediate, accessible strategies. This book provides the framework for understanding dynamic relationships within a school culture and ensuring a positive environment that supports the changes necessary to improve learning for all students. The author explores many aspects of human behavior, social conditions, ...more
Paperback, 130 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Solution Tree (first published February 1st 2009)
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Jul 12, 2009 Nancy rated it it was amazing
The author, an educator, writes of the study he did on the culture of schools and what makes them difficult to change. He describes 4 types of people who work in school and are part of the culture- the believers, who believe in change and doing whatever it takes to help kids learn, the tweeners, those new to education or even a school. They come to work willing to please their boss and are anxious to keep their jobs while they figure out their new vocation. The survivors are those who are burned ...more
J.W. Cunningham
Dec 20, 2012 J.W. Cunningham rated it really liked it
The goal of Transforming School Culture is to provide a framework for understanding how school cultures operate and how leaders can overcome staff division to improve relationships and transform toxic cultures into healthy ones with the ultimate goal of improved learning for all students. 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 dis ...more
Skylar L. Primm
Mar 26, 2016 Skylar L. Primm rated it really liked it
Muhammad's "Four Types of Educators" ("Believers," "Tweeners," "Survivors," and "Fundamentalists") rang true to me, and I've found myself categorizing all teachers I know. This is probably unfair on my part, and I'm disappointed that nowhere in the book does Muhammad acknowledge the reductiveness inherent in any systematic categorization of human beings to four broad categories. That said, categorization can be useful as first-order analysis, and he based these categories on what seems to have b ...more
Oct 26, 2014 Kelley rated it it was amazing
This is must read book for any administrator serious about understanding the reasons behind toxic school cultures and using strategies to transform them into positive environments. Anthony Muhammad identifies 4 key types of educators and explains how each impact school culture. This typology was very helpful and intensely intriguing. It has given me a much more profound understanding of the needs of staff members that I didn't know how to identify in a productive improvement model previously. Ye ...more
Bernie Van Doninck
Feb 13, 2016 Bernie Van Doninck rated it it was amazing
This book is a must read for any school principal.

The title of the book is a bit misleading as I didn't come to this book looking for any solutions on division but indeed this book could serve that purpose. Instead, this was a great book to help to further understand, respond and adapt to the ever changing dynamics in any school culture. Muhammad provides a framework for navigating the diversity in every school Professional Learning Community so as to engage all staff equally in maintaining a vi
Jeff Bush
Jun 16, 2012 Jeff Bush rated it really liked it
Yup. Everything he says is spot on. His understanding of school culture is profound. It's a little short on scholarship as far as current literature, but Muhammad almost makes up for this with his own research. On the must-read list for any educator.
Andy Schoenborn
Mar 06, 2014 Andy Schoenborn rated it liked it
The book was given to my colleagues and I from our principal. It is a great book for administrators, but tends to cause division among peers as a school wide book study - especially if you are a fundamentalist.
Jan 04, 2012 Anthony rated it really liked it
Give yourself the language to explain what goes on in a school and the pathway to a healthier learning environment for students.
Feb 07, 2016 Dave rated it it was ok
This book sheds true light on the thought process behind the different types of educators. The logic is fair and straightforward. However, it is not as innocently written as the forward describes it. Muhammad obviously takes a solid stance against the views of higher level Fundamentalists, but he does portray his views objectively. The knowledge gained from this book is reflective. As an educator, it forces introspection and realization of habits from all different categories of educators. Some ...more
Mar 13, 2013 Laurie rated it really liked it
So this has some of the same great ideas I've heard before/heard him speak about. They include:
Predeterminations that are made that widen the achievement gap:
-Perceptual (staff view of student ability)
-Intrinsic (student view of their own ability)
-Institutional (the view we have to deal with under law/other constraints)
These must be addressed to truly change school culture. But of course you are dealing with many different personalities of staff when it comes to shifting the paradigm. They are:
Dec 06, 2014 Nathan rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
A framework for staff: what types of people there are, and what they need to make change.

The first group I identified is the Believers. Believers are educators who believe in the core values that make up a healthy school culture. They believe that all of their students are capable of learning and that they have a direct impact on student success. They are actively engaged in a constant battle of ideas with another group, the Fundamentalists.

The second group I call the Tweeners. Tweeners are edu
Jul 06, 2015 Meg rated it really liked it
My first iBook! I read this book for a class I am taking on organizational behavior (fun stuff). I really love the way Muhammad writes - lots of examples and explanation and his writing just flows so nicely. It's easy to read and his insights are very enlightening when it comes to the idea of transforming school culture - not an easy task! I recommend it for anyone interested in what it takes to do your part to transform schools (teachers and administrators especially).
Joey Sagel
Dec 09, 2014 Joey Sagel rated it really liked it
Anthony Muhammad is a great speaker and important voice in education. I think this is an important book for understanding school culture overall and the motivations of people within an organization. Although I haven't always felt comfortable with how people have used Muhammad's work to put labels on people, the overall framework is helpful for understanding the complex web that a school organization can be.
Aug 26, 2015 Lynne rated it really liked it
Very practical book, which gave me new insight into the obstacles to school culture change, and how I can better be part of the solution to needed change.
Jun 12, 2015 Krista rated it it was amazing
This book gives you a lot to think about. It certainly made me think of my school, the teachers in it, and myself.
Oct 26, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
I had to read this one for work. Easy to follow and a great book to use in professional development situations.
Jodi Hufendick
Jun 22, 2012 Jodi Hufendick rated it it was amazing
Everyone who works in education should read this and it should be required reading for all administrators. The authors description of the 4 cultures in a school was blunt, to the point, and absolutely accurate. I would say that I identified with the Believers, but was disturbed to see Fundamentalist characteristics in myself. I also could pinpoint exactly the point where I became a Survivor and am grateful that I saw and acted on that myself at that time. This is an eye opening book for all in e ...more
Sunshine Darby
Feb 28, 2011 Sunshine Darby rated it really liked it
I wish I had this during my first years of teaching. The way the author is able to label groups of educators and pinpoint why they behave was right on the mark! I also enjoyed the fact that the author provides approaches to help schools get their staff to come together and heal dysfunctional cultures.
Apr 17, 2016 Renee rated it really liked it
4.5 Wish I had read this before working in a school. There should be a college of education class on school dynamics and how to navigate them.
Jan 21, 2013 Stephanie_palmeri rated it it was amazing
I read this a few years ago and still think about it a lot when dealing with resistors. I've also heard Muhammad in person and he's great.
Jan 03, 2012 Gini rated it it was amazing
Super quick read. Helps me see myself and my co-workers in a different light. I realize I need to reach out to our new teachers.
Apr 23, 2012 Kerreteach rated it it was amazing
TREMENDOUS insight into school culture and the various archetypes of teachers. A must read for all administrators.
Aug 06, 2010 Diane rated it it was amazing
Great book! I'm looking forward to discussing it with others.
Apr 24, 2013 Denise rated it really liked it
Reaffirming....not totally ground breaking, but really reaffirming.
Mar 04, 2010 Omar rated it it was amazing
Transforming School Culture is an indepth look at how to take the "four types of educators" and create an educational environment that is based on a "systematic and schoolwide focus on learning". I am a little biased because the author is a family member. But I am also a practicing educator who has been in schools all over the country witnessing the difficulty of the transition from old educational policy to the reform environment that exists today. Mr. Muhammad does an excellent job of identify ...more
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