Next Article in Journal
When the Invisible Makes Inequity Visible: Chilean Teacher Education in COVID-19 Times
Next Article in Special Issue
Analysis of the Educational Administration of the Public Educational Centers of Andalusia (Spain): The Role of the Manager in the Face of New Social Challenges
Previous Article in Journal
The Impact of Effective Teaching Practices on Academic Achievement When Mediated by Student Engagement: Evidence from Australian High Schools
Previous Article in Special Issue
Validation of the Questionnaire on Reading Preferences and Habits of Primary School Pupils at Risk of Social Exclusion
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Resistances to Educational Change: Teachers’ Perceptions

Lucía Lomba-Portela
Sara Domínguez-Lloria
2 and
Margarita Rosa Pino-Juste
Department of Didactics, School Organization and Research Methods, Universidade de Vigo, Campus da Xunqueira, 36005 Pontevedra, Spain
Department of Special Didactics, Universidade de Vigo, Campus da Xunqueira, 36005 Pontevedra, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 359;
Submission received: 21 April 2022 / Revised: 16 May 2022 / Accepted: 18 May 2022 / Published: 20 May 2022


Educational changes require a great effort on the part of the entire educational community and, above all, the active involvement of teachers. The aim of this article was to analyze the main resistances to change that predominate among teachers at different educational stages. Through a non-experimental design, using an online questionnaire, teachers’ beliefs about factors influencing resistance to change were collected. The results indicate that the participants do not have great resistance to educational change and that legislative changes and the perception of teachers as having excessive functions are the most common aspects of resistance. There is greater resistance to change among men and in public schools and as the experience and age of the teaching staff increases. Based on the results, it is suggested that the educational center be placed as the unit of change, increasing the leadership of the director to carry out the changes suggested by the center itself, fostering teamwork among teachers, and institutionally supporting innovative initiatives that are evaluated or facilitating teacher training in relation to their teaching practice.

1. Introduction

In recent years, society has been demanding new challenges from schools in accordance with social needs in order to train active, creative, enterprising, autonomous, responsible, and coherent citizens of the 21st century, among others. Among these challenges are the incorporation of information and communication technologies to the teaching-learning processes in a balanced way, the adoption of educational principles of functional diversity for a truly inclusive school, the unavoidable collaboration between school and community, the definition of the principal’s leadership, the training of teachers in active and participative methodologies, the design of functional tasks contextualized to the interests and needs of the students or ad hoc resources, the objective evaluation by competences, and the structuring of the school organization to eliminate inefficient bureaucratic processes (just to mention the ones we consider most urgent).
Each new era requires a different educational model and a different teaching staff, since the teaching profession assumes new functions due to social and scientific development [1]. In fact, educational change is a reality for all teachers around the world, as schools are constantly under pressure to innovate. However, many school practices remain persistent in the face of any kind of innovation [2].

2. Conceptual References

Nowadays, educational centers operate in a very competitive environment [3] and are evaluated by different stakeholders in education: families, the community, local authorities, the ministry of education, among others. The literature highlights that educational organizations tend to adopt models from the business sector given their productivity and mechanization [3,4]. This was pointed out by Hopkins, Ainscow and West [5] when they stated that schools adopt innovations with the aim of improving their performance by streamlining their management since they must prepare students to know how to face jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented and problems that they will have to face and that do not currently exist [6].
In this context, Ball [7] points out that red tape and bureaucracy in education have increased, and teachers have felt increasingly disadvantaged, as well as marginalized in the workplace. In fact, if we analyze the literature on the subject, we find an excess of roles that influence teacher professionalization [1,8].
Very often, innovations ignore the perspectives and realities of teachers, despite the fact that innovation should be received in light of the beliefs, perspectives, attitudes and practices of this collective [9,10]. In this sense, Paredes [11] affirms that for change to occur, people concerned with the change are necessary, through their ideas, behaviors and attitudes. Along these lines, Shirley [12] states that in educational change is often an irrational process. Consequently, the vision of changing traditional methods remains unfulfilled despite the school’s ability to connect the school curriculum with the students’ real-life concepts [13].
Moreover, around the world educational policy makers, practitioners, and academics have recognized the importance of leadership in the generation and implementation of innovations that in our context remains undefined [14,15,16].
On the other hand, Preston et al. [17] in their research highlight that the arguments that incite innovation in educational reforms have more to do with the competition and choice of educational centers for their innovative characteristics than for the intrinsic need for change expressed by the teaching staff. Consequently, this qualification will also influence the achievement and improvement of academic results [18,19]. It is therefore important to check whether these resistances exist and to ask ourselves what factors influence them.
For this study, change is defined as an innovation that implies that employees must learn new ways of thinking, acting, and/or operating in order to achieve the defined objectives [20,21], discarding changes that are exclusively framed in top management decisions that may not affect employees. Therefore, based on this premise, as Avey et al. [21] point out, resistance is a reaction in opposition to the change to be implemented, in such a way that employees adopt attitudes and behaviors that hinder such change. In addition, that educational change must emerge from all of the agents involved (as it is a collective responsibility) [22].
Resistance to change represents a critical psychological state of employees that affects the success of change initiatives undertaken by the organization, having the ability to seriously undermine these initiatives and lead to failure of change projects driven by management [23]. It is, then, of vital importance to know and understand this phenomenon of resistance to change, especially if we talk about current organizations which are in constant change, that is their permanent state, to change and change again in order to remain relevant and competitive in a knowledge society where quality demands are increasing [24,25,26,27].
It is not until the first decade of the 21st century that the study of resistance to change and the processes involved, as well as the psychological factors of each person that give rise to it, began to gain importance in academia [28].
However, if reference is made to a change in the work methodology of teachers, it should be taken into account that resistance can develop according to modalities that can coexist and appear partially or alternately. From Bianchi’s [29] perspective, in the first place, there would be the resistances to change that are expressed openly in a verbal way, so they are conscious resistances to change. Secondly, there are those resistances to change that manifest themselves through non-verbal language; and thirdly, there are hidden resistances to change, which only manifest themselves in a strongly unusual way at critical moments.
Depending on the changes to be made, it will be important to take into account the type of resistance to change to be faced in order to mitigate its effects. In this way, resistance to initial change can be encountered, which, depending on the context or the way the change is implemented, can take three forms. (1) It can manifest itself in a descending manner, i.e., it can present a resistance to the initial change and decrease in intensity as the change is implemented; (2) it can also manifest itself in a straight line, i.e., without varying its intensity over a long period of time; and, finally, (3) it can manifest itself in an ascending manner, where there is not only an initial resistance to change, but it increases over the course of the implementation of the change [29]. Thus, if the agents of change are well observed, we can identify the form of resistance to change in the face of innovation, and strategies can be formulated to neutralize them or use them to their advantage, since, according to Gordon et al. [30] in the school environment, the teacher is the main factor in change. In fact, these authors, referring to the implementation of the competency-based approach, point out that a methodological change depends on the attitude adopted by the teaching staff [22] and there is a large majority of teachers who resist it.
Resistance to change is part of people’s characteristics, can manifest itself in a direct or deferred way and has various causes: habits, insecurity, fear of the unknown, poor communication, acquired inertia, among others [31]. García-Chacón [32] considers that resistance to change always occurs naturally, and for this reason they use, at a business level, tools that facilitate the diagnosis of the levels and motivations of the individual to resist change (as well as their flexibility).
Regarding the studies that have been carried out on teachers’ resistance to change in the mid-twentieth century, these only referred to the fact that they were due to personal fears of innovations. However, for Paredes [11], all that remains is the teacher’s self-perception about himself and the influence he exerts on his daily work.
On the other hand, Deborah Britzman [33] identifies a type of resistance to change in teachers known as isolation and identifies it as part of a triple mythology: “everything depends on the teacher”, “the teacher is an expert” and “the teacher is self-made”. However, Sparks [34] indicates that resistance to change speaks of the low quality of the proposal, its innovation and the lack of consideration and respect for teachers’ expertise.
In the 1980s, Bianchi [29] states that a well-publicized reform creates the conditions for greater resistance to change. Referring to his concept of fait accompli, he explains that, if the change or innovation is unannounced, as a fait accompli, everything is left unsettled, so that there is no time to form a strong resistance to change. This is due to the fact that when such a change is made, without prior warning, all its elements are misaligned. Consequently, they have to change in order to adjust to each other, since, in the end, resistance to change depends on positional situations.
What seems clear is that resistance does not always have to be negative; in fact, it plays a filtering role in these times when too many reforms are proposed or certain fashions are imposed. According to Moore et al. [35] it is no longer possible to speak of adherence-resistance to change and they point out four different ways in which teachers act in relation to reforms: (1) aligning themselves with the reform; (2) accommodating themselves to the reform without modifying their own teaching practice; (3) selecting different aspects of different educational traditions to construct their preferred pedagogical identity (called eclectic); and (4) selecting different aspects of various educational traditions to construct a pedagogical identity not perceived as threatened (called pragmatic) in such a way that resistance to change does not always hinder change one hundred percent (although it does hinder it).
The culture of educational centers with respect to change in the teaching-learning processes is also of vital importance. Fullan [36] pointed out a series of guidelines for carrying out change processes in the culture of schools: selecting a space or educational center where the context favors the implementation of changes, training principals to lead improvement processes, providing training to teachers, and establishing interrelationships among participants (among others).
On the other hand, Garbanzo-Vargas and Orozco-Delgado [37] also point out that the dynamization of schools has to be carried out by promoting innovation and change led by innovative, pedagogical, situational, technical and/or transformational leadership.
With these premises in mind, a study was carried out among teachers at different educational levels in the Autonomous Community of Galicia in order to define their level of resistance to methodological changes, as well as their characteristics. The working hypotheses were as follows:
Hypotheseis 1 (H1).
Teachers’ resistance to change is significant.
Hypotheseis 2 (H2).
There are no significant differences between men and women in resistance to change.
Hypotheseis 3 (H3).
There are no significant differences depending on the age or experience of teachers.
Hypotheseis 4 (H4).
There are no significant differences according to the type of center, academic degree of the teacher or educational level where the teacher teaches.
Hypotheseis 5 (H5).
The age of teachers and the grade where they teach are variables that explain the resistance to change of teachers.

3. Methodology

A descriptive and inferential cross-sectional study was carried out using a non-experimental design employing a non-probabilistic sample of volunteer subjects.

3.1. Participants

The study was carried out among teachers throughout Galicia by means of an online questionnaire. The average age of the teachers was 45.7 years. Of them 65.3% are women and 34.7% are men.
The teaching staff of the sample (N = 1056) is between 23 and 65 years old and most of them are women (N = 690) as it is usual in our country in the teaching sector. The average number of years of teaching experience is 18.45 years. Thirty-four percent of them are graduates, 61.1% are undergraduates and only 4.5% are doctors. With respect to the highest grade where they teach, 9.5% are pre-school teachers, 25.6% are primary school teachers, 21.4% are secondary school teachers, 12.6% are vocational training teachers, 25.2% are high school teachers and 5.8% are counselors, teachers of different specialties such as therapeutic pedagogy, hearing and language or guidance. A total of 88.4% work in public centers while 11.6% work in subsidized centers.

3.2. Instrument

The instrument used to measure motivation was the Resistance to Change Scale (ERC) [38]. It is composed of 29 Likert items with five levels: (1) totally disagree, (2) disagree, (3) indifferent, (4) agree, and (5) totally agree. The items, in turn, are grouped into 6 dimensions. The first of these groups 6 items and corresponds to the instrumental methodological dimension (items 11, 16, 17, 25, 28, 29) which analyzes the considerations referred to methodological aspects in the teaching-learning process. The second, technical dimension, concentrates a total of four elements (items 3, 4, 5, 26) focused on analyzing the technical-training level of teachers with respect to the needs of their students. Thirdly, the “leadership capacity” dimension includes a total of five elements (items 6, 14, 15, 18, 24) as well as the normative dimension (items 13, 19, 20, 21, 22). The first of these is intended to analyze the role of teachers and their leadership style in the classroom, and the normative dimension assesses the degree of acceptance of legislative changes by teachers. The academic or executive dimension includes four of the items of the scale (2, 7, 9, 23) and, finally, the formative dimension is composed of five items (items 1, 8, 10, 12, 27). The latter two describe the teaching style of the participating teacher (academic or executive dimension) and the importance of continuous training of the teaching staff (formative dimension).
The reliability of the Resistance to Change Scale was estimated using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient to check the internal consistency of the scale. The results showed an alpha coefficient of 866, which implies high reliability. Likewise, the internal consistency of the dimensions that make up the scale is as follows: methodological (α = 0.82), technical (α = 0.81), leadership capacity (α = 0.80), normative (α = 0.76), academic or executive (α = 0.74) and formative (α = 0.73).
For correction, higher scores reveal higher levels of resistance, while lower scores reveal lower levels of the evaluated variable.

3.3. Procedure

The study was carried out in accordance with the deontological standards recognized by the Declaration of Helsinki (Hong Kong revision, September 1989) and in accordance with the recommendations of Good Clinical Practice of the EEC (document 111/3976/88 of July 1990) and the current Spanish legal regulations governing research.
The application strategy of the instrument consisted of administering the scale to the teaching staff of the Galician centers through a form in Google Drive sent by e-mail, stating the anonymous, voluntary participation and the confidentiality of the information.

3.4. Data Analysis

First, a descriptive analysis of the data was performed considering means and standard deviations. The independent variables analyzed were personal variables (sex, age and years of experience of the teachers) and academic variables (type of center, teacher’s degree and educational level at which he/she teaches).
Next, the Kolmogorov Smirnov test was used to decide, in a rigorous way, whether or not the available sample comes from a normal distribution.
Given that Sig = 0.405 it is concluded that the dependent variable is normally distributed.
Subsequently, the relationship between age and years of teaching experience and the dependent variable resistance to methodological change was analyzed using Pearson’s correlation coefficients.
Data analysis was carried out using the SPSS statistical package (V.23.0) (Pontevedra, Spain).

4. Results

The participants’ resistance to methodological change is relatively low since the mean is 2.54, with 1 being the minimum value and 4.52 the maximum.
Below, we can check the different percentages in each of the response levels, as well as the mean corresponding to each item (see Table 1).
The statements with the highest percentages are discussed below. As can be seen, more than 72% of teachers consider that they have an excess of functions. One of the aspects that is very striking, especially due to the controversy generated by teacher evaluation, is that 67.9% do not share the statement that professional self-evaluation lacks objectivity and is therefore not useful.
In addition, it is interesting to note that 78.2% recognize that they completely disagree or disagree with the statements that new technologies bring poor results in education. Similarly, 73.8% of those surveyed do not share the opinion that the classical teaching style favors more lasting learning. Within this framework, 70.9% do not agree with the statement that teamwork among students hinders the individualized evaluation of the knowledge acquired by each one of them. Almost the same percentage of the teachers surveyed (67%) completely disagree or disagree with the belief that the textbook is an essential resource during the teaching-learning process in the classroom.
Likewise, the following statement: “I use the same methodologies without taking into account the characteristics of the students”, is another item that stands out for its disagreement with the statement. The results amount to a total of 90.8% of teachers in total disagreement and disagreement. Finally, 91.7% of the subjects disagree with the belief that introducing methodological changes is a waste of time.
A total of 71.2% share the statement that legislative changes have negative effects on teaching attitudes. Therefore, 64.3% say that they trust the results of their own experience more than the changes imposed on them from above.
If we consider that 73.5% completely disagree with the statement that continuing education is pure theory, we reach a very significant figure. Another striking figure is the 78.2% of teachers who do not agree that the success of methodological change lies in the students’ ability. On the other hand, 88.4% do not share the opinion that new technologies relegate the teacher’s work as an educator.
As we can see, these two statements have a high degree of agreement among the participants: I trust the results of my experience more than the changes imposed on me from above (64.3%); It is disconcerting to have to change since others say so (49%).
In some statements, the teachers surveyed do not have a very clear position. For example, concerning whether students should adapt to the method used by the teacher in class, 43.6% disagreed, compared to 35.4% who agreed. On the other hand, 47% disagree with the statement that my job is in the classroom and 34.2% agree. One of the most evenly matched percentages is 39.3% of those who disagree that in the classroom work is carried out as I consider it to be and 35.7% are of the opposite opinion. In addition, when the subject of discipline comes up, 41.2% believe that traditional education favored it, although this percentage is not far from the 37% who disagree with this statement.
Finally, they still do not have a clear position with respect to the statement about the provisional nature of educational changes and the consequences that have an impact on their commitment as teachers. A total of 39.9% disagree and 42.2% agree.
The association between the level of resistance to change with the different independent variables is detailed below (Table 2).
As we can see, there are significant differences between the opinions of teachers according to gender and type of center. Therefore, there is greater resistance to change among men and in public centers, since in both distributions their mean is higher. However, men’s resistance has a higher level of significance.
In this case, there are also significant differences between the means of the teachers’ opinions with respect to their degree and according to the year in which they teach. The mean is higher among teachers with a bachelor’s degree, with significant differences between them and those with a diploma/graduate degree, the mean of the latter being lower.
With respect to the course in which the teacher teaches, we see that resistance is greater among high school teachers, followed by teachers of vocational training, secondary, primary, others, and infants (in that order). However, no differences were found with respect to the province where they work (see Table 3).
With regard to the data on years of experience and resistance to change, we can say that there are significant correlations, although very moderate, between resistance to change and age and years of experience, with resistance being greater the older the years are. Evidently, the correlation between age and years of experience is high (see Table 4).
A stepwise multiple linear regression analysis was also performed to test the extent to which the age of the teacher or the course in which he/she teaches predicts resistance to educational change (Table 5).
The results show that the multiple correlation coefficient is 208; the correlation between the set of predictor variables with resistance to change is very low and does not explain even 1% of the variance (0.43%), so the model fit is insignificant.

5. Discussion of the Results and Conclusions

Based on the hypotheses raised, we can point out that Galician teachers have great resistance to educational change but not extremely high. However, the greatest resistance occurs among male teachers, graduates, who teach at higher levels such as baccalaureate, vocational training or secondary school, the first named are the ones with the greatest resistance. Likewise, those who work in public schools have higher levels of resistance than other types of schools. In addition, there is greater resistance with increasing age and, therefore, with increasing years of teaching experience.
The variables that have a significant effect on resistance to change are age and the year of teaching, although they do not explain a significant percentage of the variance. This coincides with what Ramírez et al. [39] conclude in relation to age in their research on the beliefs of secondary school teachers. In their study, age becomes a determinant variable between positive and negative attitudes (and where negative attitudes are more related to older teachers). However, in relation to gender, it is the women who show a little more difficulty in making a change, contradicting the results obtained in Galicia, where it is the men who show greater resistance.
O’Bannon and Thomas [40] also point out that the variable of age makes a significant difference when it comes to assuming any change, such as the use of a new technology. Thus, teachers over 50 years of age put up more resistance than teachers under 49 years of age.
The extracted results determine that the factors that most influence resistance to educational changes with successive legislative changes and teachers’ perception of having excessive roles, as also pointed out by Shaked and Schechter [41] and Terhart [42]. Imbernon [1] points out that excessive roles directly influence their professionalization. Terhart [42], Leando da Silva and Tejada-Fernández [43] state that the excess of bureaucratic activities, report writing and some administrative activities, take away a lot of time for teachers to question and reflect on their educational practice in such a way that they are overloaded with work and this overload rather than improving their teaching, hinders it. Such is the case that leads Sarason [44] to affirm that schools have resisted change and the achievement of the objectives established by the ever-changing legislation.
Similarly, almost 70% of respondents disagree with the statement that self-evaluation is not useful since it is subjective. Wollenschläger et al. [45] mention that the results of a self-assessment indicate that the most important variable in making respondent feedback effective is the use made of the information related to the respondent’s performance (since this last point is the one that can determine the performance with which they carry out their tasks).
García et al. [46] states that there is considerable resistance with the use of ICT in the classroom. However, in the results we can observe that most of the teachers surveyed not only recognize the contributions of the use of ICT in the classroom, but they do not feel relegated by the use of these, which speaks of an open stance towards their use, and gives rise to the following question: Why, if there is no rejection to the use of new technologies, is there little use of them within the classroom?
On the other hand, it is indisputable that it is the ways in which changes are introduced that can generate greater resistance, this can become evident if we consider that the idea of “introducing methodological changes is a waste of time” is not shared by 90.8% of the teachers surveyed. However, more than 70% of the teachers surveyed share the statement that legislative changes have negative effects on teachers’ attitudes.
Finally, one of the limitations of the study is the need to replicate it in another Autonomous Community. This new source of data would allow us to corroborate whether the results of the study are representative in all of the territories where the same legislative changes are applied. The sample obtained from each of the three types of centers that exist (public, concerted and private) is different. In fact, we had to exclude data from private centers since we did not obtain a representative sample.

6. Lines of Action

Likewise, it can be seen that resistance to methodological change within this population of teachers is not extremely high, which generates a big question: if resistance to methodological change is rather medium among Galician teachers, why is methodological change not evident in educational practice? One explanation may be that teachers adhere to the second form of adaptation to the new reforms proposed by Moore et al. [35], where teachers adopt the reform without modifying their own teaching practice. However, this cannot be the only one, since it is well known that within the resistance to educational change there is more than one factor that has a direct influence.
In addition, Orphanos and Orr [47] state that the principal’s leadership is one of the factors with the greatest impact on the implementation of innovative practices and that, in addition, it favors collaboration generating satisfaction in the collaborative work of teachers. In this line, Torruellas de Jesús [48] affirmed that the function of supervision is not only to sustain the existing educational program but also to improve it. This gives a decisive role to the principal of an educational institution as an agent of change. This implies that a principal not only has the power to bring about change, but also has a facilitating role, which means that he/she must encourage communication and ensure that any possible resistance factors are neutralized or used in favor of such change. Therefore, it is essential that he/she not only has knowledge about strategic approaches to make a change, but must also know how to carry them out. This implies that, in order to fulfill his functions as a manager, he must have leadership qualities, which entails the acquisition of skills in situation analysis, decision making, interpersonal relations and personnel management, as well as the ability to persuade. All of this is accompanied by a more horizontal and less democratic communication, which will ensure that changes are permanent.
Therefore, we consider that the premises of Antúnez [49], who stated that it is necessary to take into account that the educational center is the unit of change in order to carry out changes in educational centers, are still valid. Thus, in order for change to occur, it is necessary to have people involved in it, since these agents need autonomy and power. Consequently, it is necessary to have an internal driving force to dynamize the processes. Therefore, change depends more on the initiatives, the collaborative work of the teaching staff and school management than on legislative reform. In short, schools have the potential to improve the quality of their teaching-learning processes if they are capable of learning from themselves. To this end, teachers need continuous training that allows them the capacity for self-criticism and flexibility, as well as openness to the transformation of their teaching practice and the universal design of teaching-learning processes.
Based on these data, the teamwork of teachers in schools should be encouraged by supporting their innovative initiatives, facilitating and simplifying bureaucratic tasks, offering ongoing teacher training appropriate to their demands, defining the tasks of the principal as a leader, carrying out a rigorous evaluation of the impact of the projects carried out in the schools in order to generalize good practices, offer digital educational resources appropriate to the cultural and social context of the centers, design programs for community participation in the school, and focus institutional attention on the variability of the supply of resources for the mastery of student competencies and not so much on the administrative and curricular framework.
Finally, it seems important to provide institutional support for innovative practices that are evaluated, through monitoring and pedagogical support of the activity, professional recognition of the innovative work, or institutional dissemination of good practices.
Evidently, although the population sample is very large, it would be important to replicate this study with teachers from other autonomous communities and to carry out qualitative studies to define more rigorously the reasons for these opinions in order to make institutional decisions that will allow the adoption of measures to control resistance.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; methodology, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; software, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; validation, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; formal analysis, M.R.P.-J.; investigation, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; resources, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; data curation, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; writing—original draft preparation, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; writing—review and editing, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; visualization, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; supervision, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; project administration, L.L.-P., S.D.-L. and M.R.P.-J.; funding acquisition, the article has no funds for its financing. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was carried out in accordance with the deontological standards recognized by the Declaration of Helsinki (Hong Kong revision, September 1989) and in accordance with the recommendations of Good Clinical Practice of the EEC (document 111/3976/88 of July 1990) and the current Spanish legal regulations governing research.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Not applicable.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Imbernón, F. Los retos educativos del presente y del futuro. La sociedad cambia, ¿y el profesorado? Rev. Int. Form. Profr. 2016, 1, 121–129. [Google Scholar]
  2. Priestley, M. Schools, teachers, and curriculum change: A balancing act? J. Educ. Chang. 2010, 12, 1–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Hazzan, O.; Zelig, D. Adoption of innovation from the business sector by post-primary education organizations. Manag. Educ. 2015, 30, 19–28. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  4. Rawat, K.; Bouchon, F.; Nair, V. Innovative practices in education to empower rural communities. Worldw. Hosp. Tour. Themes 2015, 7, 516–529. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Hopkins, D.; Ainscow, M.; West, M. School Improvement in an Era of Change. School Development Series; Cassell: Herndon, VA, USA, 1994; pp. 1–230. [Google Scholar]
  6. Schleicher, A. Preparing Teachers and Developing School Leaders for the 21st Century: Lessons from around the World; OCDE: Paris, France, 2012; pp. 1–112. [Google Scholar]
  7. Ball, S.J. The Education Debate, 3rd ed.; Bristol University Press: Bristol, UK, 2017; pp. 1–220. [Google Scholar]
  8. Datnow, A. The role of teachers in educational reform: A 20-year perspective. J. Educ. Chang. 2020, 21, 431–441. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  9. Karasavvidis, I. Activity theory as a conceptual framework for understanding teacher approaches to information and communication technologies. Comput. Educ. 2009, 53, 436–444. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Yılmaz, D.; Kılıçoğlu, G. Resistance to change and ways of reducing resistance in educational organizations. Eur. J. Res. Educ. 2013, 1, 14–21. [Google Scholar]
  11. Paredes, J. Cultura escolar y resistencia al cambio. Tend. Pedagóg. 2004, 9, 737–742. [Google Scholar]
  12. Shirley, D. How to lead educational change. J. Educ. Chang. 2016, 17, 281–285. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. Kratz, S.; Merritt, E. Museums and the future of education. Horizon 2011, 19, 188–195. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  14. Hilel, A.; Ramírez-García, A. The Relationship between Professional Environmental Factors and Teacher Professional Development in Israeli Schools. Educ. Sci. 2022, 12, 285. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Moolenaar, N.M.; Daly, A.J.; Sleegers, P.J. Occupying the principal position: Examining relationships between transformational leadership, social network position, and schools’ innovative climate. Educ. Adm. Q. 2010, 46, 623–670. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. Cayulef-Ojeda, C.D.P. El liderazgo distribuido una apuesta de dirección escolar de calidad. REICE Rev. Iberoam. Sobre Calid. Efic. Cambio Educ. 2016, 5, 144–148. [Google Scholar]
  17. Preston, C.; Goldring, E.; Berends, M.; Cannata, M. School innovation in district context: Comparing traditional public schools and charter schools. Econ. Educ. Rev. 2012, 31, 318–330. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  18. Walberg, H.J.; Bast, J.L. Education and Capitalism: How Overcoming Our Fear of Markets and Economics Can Improve America’s Schools; Hoover Institution Press: Stanford, CA, USA, 2003; pp. 50–101. [Google Scholar]
  19. Chubb, J.E.; Moe, T.M. Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools; Brookings Institution Press: Washington, DC, USA, 1990; pp. 1–73. [Google Scholar]
  20. Schalk, R.; Campbell, J.W.; Freese, C. Change and employee behaviour. Leadersh. Organ. Dev. J. 1998, 19, 157–163. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Avey, J.B.; Wernsing, T.S.; Luthans, F. Can Positive Employees Help Positive Organizational Change? Impact of Psychological Capital and Emotions on Relevant Attitudes and Behaviors. J. Appl. Behav. Sci. 2008, 44, 48–70. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  22. Pyhältö, K.; Pietarinen, J.; Soini, T. Comprehensive school teachers’ professional agency in large-scale educational change. J. Educ. Chang. 2013, 15, 303–325. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. García-Cabrera, A.M.; Álamo-Vera, F.R.; Hernández, F.G.-B. Antecedentes de la resistencia al cambio: Factores individuales y contextuales. Cuad. Econ. Dir. Empresa 2011, 14, 231–246. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  24. Giangreco, A.; Peccei, R. The nature and antecedents of middle manager resistance to change: Evidence from an Italian context. Int. J. Hum. Resour. Manag. 2005, 16, 1812–1829. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Grunberg, L.; Moore, S.; Greenberg, E.S.; Sikora, P. The changing workplace and its effects: A longitudinal examination of employee responses at a large company. J. Appl. Behav. Sci. 2008, 44, 215–236. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  26. Rafferty, A.E.; Restubog, S.L.D.; Jimmieson, N.L. Losing sleep: Examining the cascading effects of supervisors’ experience of injustice on subordinates’ psychological health. Work Stress 2010, 24, 36–55. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  27. Díaz-Hernández, M.C.; Borges del Rosal, M.A.; Valadez Sierra, M.D.; Zambrano Guzmán, R. Valoración de buenas prácticas docentes a través de observación sistemática. Univ. Psychol. 2015, 14, 913–922. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Van Dam, K.; Oreg, S.; Schyns, B. Daily work contexts and resistance to organisational change: The role of leader–member exchange, development climate, and change process characteristics. Appl. Psychol. 2008, 57, 313–334. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  29. Bianchi, A. La resistencia al cambio educativo. Aula Abierta 1981, 33, 11–20. [Google Scholar]
  30. Gordon, J.; Halász, G.; Krawczyk, M.; Leney, T.; Michel, A.; Pepper, D.; Putkiewicz, E.; Wiśniewski, J. Key competences in europe: Opening doors for lifelong learners across the school curriculum and teacher education. CASE Netw. Rep. 2009, 87, 10–328. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  31. Kotter, J.P.; Schlesinger, L.A. Choosing Strategies for Change; Harvard Business Review: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2008; pp. 1–110. [Google Scholar]
  32. García-Chacón, G. Herramienta para el diagnóstico de la resistencia al cambio durante el desarrollo de proyectos mayores. Estud. Gerenc. 2005, 21, 57–106. [Google Scholar]
  33. Britzman, D.P. Decentering Discourses in Teacher Education: Or, the Unleashing of Unpopular Things. J. Educ. 1991, 173, 60–80. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Sparks, D. Is resistance to change really the problem. Developer 1997, 2, 40–57. [Google Scholar]
  35. Moore, A.; Edwards, G.; Halpin, D.; George, R. Compliance, Resistance and Pragmatism: The (re)construction of schoolteacher identities in a period of intensive educational reform. Br. Educ. Res. J. 2002, 28, 551–565. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Fullan, M. Los Nuevos Significados Del Cambio en la Educación; Octaedro: Barcelona, Spain, 2002; pp. 1–304. [Google Scholar]
  37. Vargas, G.M.G.; Delgado, V.H.O. Liderazgo para una gestión moderna de procesos educativos. Rev. Educ. 2010, 34, 15–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  38. Delgado, M.O.; Pino-Juste, M.; González-Peiteado, M. Validación de instrumento para medir resistencias del profesorado al cambio metodológico. Paideia 2017, 61, 13–33. [Google Scholar]
  39. Ramírez-Orellana, E.; Cañedo-Hernández, I.; Clemente-Linuesa, M.; Ram, E.; Ca, I. Mar Attitudes and Beliefs of Secondary Teachers about Internet Use in their Classrooms. Comunicar 2012, 19, 147–155. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. O’bannon, B.W.; Thomas, K. Teacher perceptions of using mobile phones in the classroom: Age matters! Comput. Educ. 2014, 74, 15–25. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  41. Shaked, H.; Schechter, C. School principals as mediating agents in education reforms. Sch. Leadersh. Manag. 2016, 37, 19–37. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  42. Terhart, E. Teacher resistance against school reform: Reflecting an inconvenient truth. Sch. Leadersh. Manag. 2013, 33, 486–500. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  43. Silva, L.L.D.; Tejada Fernández, J. Permanent Training of University Teachers in Catalonia and São Paulo: Dilemmas and Challenges. Span. J. Comp. Educ. REEC 2016, 27, 193–213. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [Green Version]
  44. Sarason, S.B. El Predecible Fracaso de la Reforma Educativa; Octaedro: Barcelona, Spain, 2003; pp. 1–172. [Google Scholar]
  45. Wollenschläger, M.; Hattie, J.; Machts, N.; Möller, J.; Harms, U. What makes rubrics effective in teacher-feedback? Transparency of learning goals is not enough. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 2016, 44–45, 1–11. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  46. García, C.; Días, P.; Sorte, A.; Díaz-Pérez, J.; Rita Leal, A.; Gandra, M. El uso de las TIC y herramientas de la web 2.0 por maestros portugueses de la educación primaria y educación especial: La importancia de las competencias personales. Profeso-Rado. Rev. Currículum Form. Profr. 2014, 18, 241–255. [Google Scholar]
  47. Orphanos, S.; Orr, M.T. Learning leadership matters: The influence of innovative school leadership preparation on teachers’ experiences and outcomes. Educ. Manag. Adm. Leadersh. 2014, 42, 680–700. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  48. Torruellas de Jesús, A. Nuevos enfoques en la supervisión de la enseñanza. Rev. Educ. 1977, 44, 49–64. [Google Scholar]
  49. Antúnez, S. Organización y gestión escolar. In Organización Y Gestión Escolar; MA Santos Guerra (Coord.); Octaedro: Barcelona, Spain, 2001; pp. 165–178. [Google Scholar]
Table 1. Percentages and means for each item of the questionnaire.
Table 1. Percentages and means for each item of the questionnaire.
ÍTEMS12345 X ¯
The teacher plays too many roles.2.09.916.043.728.43.87
Traditional education favored discipline.11.425.621.930.211.03.04
Professional self-evaluation lacks objectivity and is therefore not useful.33.934.
New technologies provide poor results in education.39.537.713.
The teamwork of students makes it difficult to evaluate individually the knowledge acquired by each one of them.34.636.312.
Students must adapt to the method used by the teacher in class.15.927.720.928.07.42.83
The classical teaching style favors a more lasting learning.38.835.
The training courses do not provide me with relevant content.26.132.520.
The textbook is an indispensable resource in the classroom.33.633.420.310.22.52.14
Continuous training is pure theory.39.434.
The success of the methodological change lies in the capacity of the students.34.943.314.
Theory is one thing, but practice is quite another.7.715.417.632.526.83.55
Legislative changes have negative effects on teaching attitudes.2.78.517.534.936.33.93
The teacher makes himself.6.320.823.434.814.73.31
My work is in the classroom.
I reject the usefulness of pedagogical theories from a practical point of view.26.839.921.
I do not willingly accept that others intervene in matters concerning my performance as a professional in the classroom.28.643.817.
In my class we work as I consider pertinent10.528.825.
With the successive educational changes, I am afraid of losing confidence in my daily work performance.24.531.921.717.64.32.45
With the educational changes I think “the cure will be worse than the disease”.17.026.929.519.77.02.73
It is disconcerting to have to change since it is decided by others.
The tentativeness of educational change undermines my commitment as a teacher.18.021.917.928.413.82.98
With the reforms I am afraid of losing authority.32.232.419.811.64.12.23
I rely more on the results of my experience than on changes imposed on me from above.2.611.022.342.022.33.70
I believe that the teaching process is efficient and should not be altered.29.747.616.
New technologies relegate the role of the teacher as educator46.
The integration of students with special educational needs causes a decrease in the level of performance in the classroom.
I use the same methodologies without considering the characteristics of the students.50.340.
Introducing methodological changes is a waste of time63.
Table 2. Student’s t test results for the association between gender and resistance to change.
Table 2. Student’s t test results for the association between gender and resistance to change.
SexNAverageFSig.tSig. (Bilateral)
Resistance to changeFemale69025,2370.9880.320−2.1600.031
Resistance to changePublic93325,6205.0650.0522.5680.004
Table 3. ANOVA results for the association between the teacher’s academic degree and the course in which he/she teaches and resistance to change.
Table 3. ANOVA results for the association between the teacher’s academic degree and the course in which he/she teaches and resistance to change.
QualificationDiploma3632.484.950.007Diploma/Graduated = 0.005
Course in wich it is taughtEarly childhood1002.3512.460.000Early childhood/Secondary = 0.001
Early childhood/Professional education = 0.001
Early childhood/Bachelor’s = 0.000
Primary/Secondary = 0.003
Primary/Professional education = 0.004
Primary/Bachelor’s = 0.000
Bachelor’s/Others = 0.003
Professional education1332.61
Bachelor’s Degree2662.68
Table 4. Pearson correlations.
Table 4. Pearson correlations.
AgeYears of Experience
Years of experiencePearson’s correlation0.881 **
Sig. (bilateral)0.000
Resistance to chagePearson’s correlation0.134 **0.084 **
Sig. (bilateral)0.0000.006
** The correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (bilateral).
Table 5. Linear multiple regression model.
Table 5. Linear multiple regression model.
ModelRR SquareR Square CorrectedTip Estimation ErrorDurbin-Watson
a Predictor variables: (Constant), Course, Age. Dependent variable: resistance to change.
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Lomba-Portela, L.; Domínguez-Lloria, S.; Pino-Juste, M.R. Resistances to Educational Change: Teachers’ Perceptions. Educ. Sci. 2022, 12, 359.

AMA Style

Lomba-Portela L, Domínguez-Lloria S, Pino-Juste MR. Resistances to Educational Change: Teachers’ Perceptions. Education Sciences. 2022; 12(5):359.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lomba-Portela, Lucía, Sara Domínguez-Lloria, and Margarita Rosa Pino-Juste. 2022. "Resistances to Educational Change: Teachers’ Perceptions" Education Sciences 12, no. 5: 359.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop