Surreal Change: The Real Life of Transforming Public Education, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Surreal Change

The Real Life of Transforming Public Education, 1st Edition

By Michael Fullan


106 pages

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pub: 2018-03-22
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In Surreal Change: The Real Life of Transforming Public Education, internationally renowned expert Michael Fullan reflects on the leading trends and ideas within the educational change field over a 50-year period. The author traces the evolution of the field through his own personal developments and contributions to it, working chronologically through "The 12 Seminal Ideas" of his career. Fullan shows his personal and vulnerable side as well as how he came to develop breakthrough ideas. By looking at the way the field has transformed and grown over time, Fullan draws attention to what ideas have persisted, what problems still need solving, and what faces teachers, leaders and reformers today. Deeply personal and insightful, Surreal Change contextualizes the past, present, and future of school reform to help leaders continue to bring about lasting, positive, systemic change in their organization.


'Surreal Change is a deeply engaging book that is a treasure and go-to resource for anyone interested in the dynamics of educational change. I have wondered how Michael Fullan manages to be a step ahead in unpacking the elements central to effective change policies and practices. Now we have the answer in the form of a personally and professionally revealing account of his journey at the center of educational change thinking and action. Surreal Change provides a rare chance to enter the inner world of one of the great change leaders.'

—Milbrey McLaughlin, David Jacks Professor of Education and Public Policy, Emerita, Stanford University

'As is the case for so many, Michael Fullan has guided my work from graduate school to veteran leader. He has always been a brilliant writer who makes incredibly complex ideas seem intuitively obvious. The beauty of this book is that it is lively, compelling, personal, and so clearly demonstrates that all along he has been preparing to change the world and the future of public education. There is no other book like it. It contains stunning revelations that will warm your heart and shake your mind in equal measure.'

—David Moyer, Superintendent, Elmhurst Community School District, Illinois

'In Surreal Change, Michael Fullan reveals his inner self from babyhood to becoming a global force.. I could not put it down! A book that speaks to individuals at all levels of the system—it grabs you by the heart and mind, and never lets go. Decade after decade Fullan is the most insightful thinker and doer that I know. His impact is unparalleled.'

—Avis Glaze, International Education Adviser, Former Chief Student Officer of Ontario

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1. Surreal Change

2. The Inchoate Years 1940-1969

3. The Formative Years 1969-1988

4. The Becoming Years 1988-2003

5. The System Years: Part One 2003-2012

6. The System Years: Part Two 2013-2017

7. Postscript: Still Surreal


About the Author

Michael Fullan, Order of Canada, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and the former Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. He is known internationally as an innovative leader in leadership and system change. He participates as a researcher, consultant, trainer, and policy advisor on many educational change initiatives with school systems, teachers’ federations, research institutes, and government agencies. His latest book is Deep Learning: Engage the World Change the World.

About the Series

Routledge Leading Change Series

The world is crying out loud for quality education, and for the type of leadership and change to make quality education a reality. Never has there been a greater need for grasping the big pictures of leadership and change in education, which creates the world of tomorrow by developing future generations today.

In this series, you will find some of the world's leading intellectual authorities on educational leadership and change. From the pens of writers such as Dennis Shirley, Pak Tee Ng, Andy Hargreaves, Michael Fullan, Pasi Sahlberg, Alma Harris, Yong Zhao, Amanda Datnow, Vicky Park, Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, Armand Doucet and Karen Edge, come wise insights and breakthrough ideas on this subject. They ask what the new imperatives of educational change are. They explore the paradoxical nature of educational change in celebrated Asian cultures and systems like those of Singapore. They point to the power of professional collaboration and leading from the middle in schools, and networks of schools and across the world, rather than just driving change from the top. They invite us to think about and pursue educational change as social movements aimed at liberating learning. They highlight the surreal nature of leadership and change at this critical moment in world history.

This series of books is for the stout-hearted and open-minded reader who is keenly looking for inspiration to unlock the potential of educational leadership and change in this turbulent world.

Learn more…

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