Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


Date of this Version

Winter 11-29-2015

Document Type



(Marxhausen, 2015)


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Cognition Learning and Development), Under the Supervision of Professor Kathleen Rudasill. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Kim Marxhausen


Schools, and the teachers and administrators who work in them, need the flexibility to adapt to current student needs. Past research has focused on organizations and plans for change; little research has been done on individual teacher reaction to change situations leaving a gap in the literature. The goal of this constructivist grounded theory study was to explore how individual teachers, in LCMS Lutheran elementary schools, react when presented with change. Data were collected through interviews involving an event history calendar to facilitate memory. A theoretical sampling process was used to collect and analyze data utilizing a constant comparative method. The theoretical model emerging from the data identified resilience as a key factor in individual reaction to change. When teachers encounter the ambiguity, contingencies and repercussions of change these challenges can be met with a variety of reactions. This study identified adaptive reactions in the areas of support, strategies and faith that worked to build resilience in teachers that permitted them to weather the trials of change. These adaptive reactions form the resilience model of teacher change. Findings from this study will be advantageous for administrators and others in the Lutheran school community seeking to promote change within their school or classrooms. This study points to benefits in the promotion of the evaluation of strategies, the building of supportive relationships, and the creation of an adaptive change environment.

Adviser: Kathleen Rudasill