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The Lie: Evolution


Change Agents

By Karl C. Priest 2-13-22

The first time I hear the term “change agents” it was from Alice Moore in 1974:

The goal of the Progressives was to turn schools into indoctrination centers for the purpose of creating a godless and socialist society. They intended to do so by making teachers “change agents.” That change was coming was made clear by one of our

Kanawha County principals who proudly proclaimed, “We are no longer transmitters of information in education. We are transformers for social change.” The term “change agent” was being heard from school administrators and teachers and appearing in professional education journals.

(Protester Voices—The 1974 Textbook Tea Party, pg. 185)

Recently I heard the term again and a quick Internet search revealed how important that term is to liberals who control public schools. The two excerpts below are from the UK, but I am sure similar (or worse) can be found in the USA.

Developing teachers as agents of inclusion and social justice

Policies around the world increasingly call for teachers to become ‘agents of change’, often linked to social justice agendas. However, there is little clarity about the kind of competencies such agency involves or how it can be developed in teacher education. This paper draws on theories of teacher agency and inclusive pedagogy to clarify the meaning of teachers as agents of change in the context of inclusion and social justice. Inclusive practice requires the collaboration of teachers and others such as families and other professionals. Agents of change work purposefully with others to challenge the status quo and develop social justice and inclusion. We discuss the possibilities of combining theories of inclusive pedagogy and teacher agency for developing teachers as agents of inclusion and social justice in teacher education.

(Nataša PantićSchool of EducationUniversity of Edinburgh, Scotland. Education Inquiry Volume 6, 2015 - Issue 3: Special Issue: Teacher Education Policies and Developments in Europe Article: 27311 | Published online: 01 Sep 2015

Teachers as agents of social change

Global learning and its related concepts of global education, global citizenship, education for sustainable development, and evelopment education are all built on the assumption that learning is closely linked to personal and social change (see Bourn, 2015; Kirkwood-Tucker, 2009; McCloskey, 2014). Within these discourses and practices, the role of the teacher as the agent for promoting these changes is often assumed but rarely discussed as to what it means…This paper aims to address the role of teachers within the theories and practices around global learning and in particular their role as agents for change…Since the 1970s, there has been funding support for promoting learning about global and development issues in many industrialized countries . (63)

Central to Oxfam’s approach is also the usage of the term ‘global citizenship’, to empower ‘young people to be active Global Citizens’ (Oxfam UK) (65)

In a range of academic studies on global learning and global education, the role of teachers is seen as central to their success. Kirkwood-Tucker had noted in 1990 that ‘teachers were more influential than textbooks as the primary source of information for students about global education’ (Kirkwood-Tucker, 1990: 111) (66)

At a broader level, however, by virtue of their role within communities and particularly if they are passionate and committed to global learning principles, teachers would be seeking to influence others beyond the classroom. For many teachers this might be done through their active involvement in their trade union. Teaching unions in the UK, for example, are known to be active supporters of global social justice themes. (73)

Therefore, for teachers, a direct relationship needs to exist between what happens in the classroom, in the school, and within wider society. Teachers are agents for change within the classroom. They can also be agents for change within the school. But within society as a whole, any discussion on teachers as agents for change has tended to focus too much on aspects of political activism that are seen as distinct from classroom practice. If what happens in the classroom, in the school, and within wider society is seen as part of the change process for both teacher and learner, global learning can be a real agent not only for individual change, but also for society as a whole. (75)

(Douglas Bourn. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning 7 (3) 2015

See related article: AGENTS of  CHANGE.