The Teacher as an Agent of Meaningful Educational Change

Author/s:

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2017.2.0314 

Year: 2017 Vol: 17 Number: 2

Abstract

This paper peers through the window to look at how a teacher brings about meaningful educational change in a diverse classroom. Utilizing three sets of arguments from the field of educational change, I traced educational change within a teacher during the course of an academic year. Data capture comprised a mix of semi-structured interviews and observations. Findings were multi-fold: First, the teacher’s professed beliefs cohered well with her practices and played a significant role in how she responded to diversity in the classroom. Second, if change attempts are to be successful, individuals must find meaning concerning what should change as well as how to go about it. In the South African context there is much literature on what should change, but there is very little on what strategies and programmes can be implemented to effect change in teachers’ beliefs about diversity. The educational literature underscores the centrality of the personal domain of the teacher in sustaining educational change. This paper illustrates that the concept of identity is a social, historical, and generational construct that is fluid and susceptible to change. It shows how change can be sustained in the personal domain of the teacher and illustrates that teaching is ultimately a class act of human compassion.

Keywords
Diversity, Educational change, Teacher beliefs, Teacher practice, Sociocultural responsive education, Human compassion

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