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The Human Side of Changing Education

The Human Side of Changing Education
How to Lead Change With Clarity, Conviction, and Courage

First Edition

Foreword by Arthur Levine

May 2018 | 152 pages | Corwin

Make change humanly possible 

Today’s schools know they must make problem solving, collaboration, self-directed learning and creativity an integral part of the school’s DNA, but they don’t always know how. 

When we ask schools to change, we are asking human beings to change. This requires special tools and a human-centered approach. In The Human Side of Changing Education, leaders will learn to make sense of their challenging change journeys and accelerate effective implementation. With this practical framework that includes human-centered tools, resources and mini case studies, readers will learn to navigate and succeed on their unique path of change. 

  • Understand why resistance is to be expected and how to get through it. 
  • Discover three different kinds of change strategies and when to use which one 
  • Learn how to use the “messy middle” of change, where real transformation happens 

Change the heart of the system by enabling the hearts and minds of those who make schools work.

"Julie Wilson is both a visionary and a pragmatist. Her book is a wonderfully clear and concise guide for leaders who seek to navigate the road to educational transformation."
Tony Wagner, Author
The Global Achievement Gap and Creating Innovators

 "If you want to understand what it takes to create innovative and lasting change, then forge ahead with The Human Side of Changing Education, and bravely create your own hero's journey. This is a valuable guide, with practical advice and real-life examples to support you in this very complicated and challenging work."
Ann Koufman-Frederick, Chief Academic Officer
LearnLaunch Institute, MAPLE

"If everyone working in U.S. K-12 education were to read this book and put even half of its thinking into practice, we would be well on our way to a far better society. It is timely, visionary, and relentlessly practical – a rare combination. Discover what our future could look like if enough of us dare to make it happen."
Andy Calkins, Director
Next Generation Learning Challenges at EDUCAUSE





Foreword by Arthur Levine
About the Author
Becoming Agents of Our Own Learning

Schools That Support Human Development

The Core of Change Is Learning

Change Is a Developmental Task

A Rising Tide of Consensus

Worthy Skill 1: Self-Directed Learning

Worthy Skill 2: Creativity and Innovation

Worthy Skill 3: Planning, Adaptability, and Agility

Worthy Skill 4: Strengths Awareness and Application

Worthy Skill 5: Self-Efficacy

Worthy Skill 6: Global Citizenship

Worthy Skill 7: Relationship Building

Worthy Skill 8: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Key Points

Questions for Reflection and Action

The Pedagogy Needs to Reflect the Outcomes We Seek

Changing Pedagogy Changes Your Culture

Moving From the Industrial Educational Model to a Postindustrial Model

What Kind of Change Is It?

Differentiating Your Approach

Key Points

Questions for Reflection and Action

Success Factor 1: Sustained Leadership and a Visionary School Board

Success Factor 2: A Shared Vision of the Change

Success Factor 3: Unleashing Talent and Building Teams

Success Factor 4: Rethinking the Use of Time and Space

Success Factor 5: Overhauling the Assessment Structure of Learning and School Performance

Leading Transformative Change Requires Adult Development

From Socialized Minds to Self-Authoring Minds

Moving Away From the Patriarchal Model of Education

Key Points

Questions for Reflection and Action

Success Factors in Action

Strategy 1: Your Learning History

Strategy 2: The Future: Where Would You Like to Go?

Strategy 3: Building Organizational Change Capacity

Strategy 4: Helping Others Through Change—The Power of Development

Strategy 5: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint—Leading Through the Uncertainty of Change

Strategy 6: Building Effective Teams

Strategy 7: It Could Be a Library or . . .

Strategy 8: Measuring What We Value

Key Points

Questions for Reflection and Action

When You Are or Are Not in Charge

The Hero’s Journey

Stages of the Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey of Real People Like You

Key Points

Questions for Reflection and Action

Getting Clear on Your “Why” and Taking Action

Summary Questions for Reflection and Action

Organizational Change Capacity Questionnaire

Individual Development Plan

The Strengths-Based Conversation


Where other books focus on the what and why of school change, Julie Wilson’s book empowers leaders to deal with the human side of school change. Julie shares examples, tools, strategies, and resources to schools who are striving to change the paradigm to build schools of the future.

Bo Adams, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer; Executive Director
Mount Vernon Presbyterian School; Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation

I have seen Julie Wilson teach school leaders using the principles she captures here so clearly. This book will offer system-shifting school leaders the practical strategies, skills, dispositions, and tools they need to navigate successfully their journey to modernizing our schools.

David Monaco, Allen Meyer Family Head of School; Founding Partner
Parish Episcopal School; Center for Transformational LEadership

Transforming schools is truly a human endeavor. It requires a community commitment to a new set of student learning outcomes, as well as teachers and leaders willing to give students voice and choice over their own learning. Julie Wilson’s book is an essential guide to teachers and leaders ready to take on this challenge.

Tim Presiado, Chief Operating Officer
New Tech Network

Huge gratitude to Julie Wilson for illuminating such important dimensions of school transformation. The human side of change – leadership, culture, emotions, and process – can make or break any effort to build models of design that better prepare students to thrive in the 21st century. This book provides practical tools and inspiring stories from real practitioners who are leading change. A key read for anyone seeking to build the future of learning.

Jeff Wetzler, Co-Founder

Every now and then, a book comes out that has the power to not only inspire but to also instill change. Julie Wilson's, The Human Side of Changing Education is this book. If you are passionate about improving education (and yourself), read this as soon as you can. Weaving commentary from a variety of sources, Wilson masterfully merges research with practice and engages the reader in thoughtful reflections on the changing needs of education. This exceptional book not only asks why but gives the reader tools for how they can enact change on a personal and organizational level.

Susan Reinecke, Societal Advancement K-12 Faculty
Center for Creative Leadership

Julie Wilson’s practical insights for bringing the human element into school transformation face major obstacles in a school culture obsessed with data. Nonetheless, her insights deserve attentive reflection and action by every person looking for our children to be seen as flesh and blood learners instead of measurable numbers.

Jim Bellanca, Executive Director; Co-Editor Rethinking How Students Learn, 21st Century Skills; Senior Fellow
Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Skills; Rethinking How Students Learn, 21st Century Skills; P21

With clarity and grace, Julie Wilson guides educators through the difficult task of unlearning the old habits and lessons of the past to create schools that cultivate the post-industrial skills our students need.  She models the innovative thinking and processes required to create the schools our students and society deserve.

Ethan R. Cancell, Executive Director
Brockton School District; Assessment, Accountability, Technology & Student Data Research

For educators to facilitate and sustain meaningful school change, they must first embody the change they envision for their students. Julie Wilson’s book provides a solid explanation of the change process and practical tools for individuals who seek to not only transform the world of education but transform themselves as well.

Amy Timmins, Teacher
Lexington, MA

"A call to arms. This book not only provides a great platform for schools or districts to intimate conversations about change, but lays out an easy to follow scaffold on which an action plan can be developed."

Ray Boyd, Principal
West Beechboro Independent Primary School, Beechboro, Western Australia

“Very engaging. Offers practical advice to educators who want to be change leaders. I felt enthused and motivated after reading it. Julie Wilson conveys there are no quick fixes.”

Louis Lim, Vice-Principal
Bayview Secondary School, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Material

Julie Jungalwala

Julie M. Wilson is a coach and advisor to school leaders, educational institutions, and foundations whose mission is to shape the future of K-12 education. She has over 15 years experience building effective learning environments that unlock human potential and enable organizational culture to adapt and grow during times of change. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Institute for the Future of Learning, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping transform the factory model of education. Projects include working with school leadership and teacher teams to reimagine curriculum and pedagogy, researching the current state of... More About Author

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ISBN: 9781506398532

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