The role of agency in becoming and being a teacher: identifying teachers as change agents in primary education

H.R.M.A. van der Heijden

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


    Teachers themselves play a key role in school development. Every school needs teachers who are ‘change agents’ at both classroom and school level. However, little is known about what characterizes these teachers. Therefore, an interview study has been conducted to obtain a broad and coherent insight into characteristics of primary school teachers as change agents. Structured open interviews were used to collect data among external experts, principals and teachers (n=20). Analysis of the data resulted in a differentiated and broad picture of attributed characteristics of teachers as change agents. Teachers as change agents appear to demonstrate characteristics pertaining to Lifelong learning (being eager-to-learn and being reflective), Mastery (giving guidance, being accessible, being positive, being committed, being trustful and being self-assured), Entrepreneurship (being innovative and feeling responsible) and Collaboration (being collegial). Mastery appeared to be the largest category. ‘Being innovative’ within the category Entrepreneurship was mentioned most. Furthermore, the characteristics derived from the data appeared to be closely related and mutually reinforcing. Based on the results it might be concluded that many characteristics of teachers as change agents can be distinguished. There is little difference in terms of demonstrating the characteristics at classroom or school level. However, the importance of demonstrating the found characteristics at school level seems to weigh less for teachers than for the experts and principals.
    Original languageDutch
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2013

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