Worldwide integration and technological developments, and changing cultural patterns have education experts struggling to respond to the fast paced paradigm changes in order to better equip students with the increased knowledge and skills that are necessary to compete globally in the 21st century. However, research shows that most efforts and proposed initiatives to transform education systems continue to fall short during implementation. There is a substantial gap between the widely acknowledged need for transformation in education and the actual success of such initiatives (Hoteit, Moujaes, Hiltunen, & Sahlberg, 2012). One reason for this gap continues to be a lack of ...view middle of the document...
Furthermore, I will address strengths and/or weaknesses with my own communication skills, motivation, values, goals, strategy and planning, vision, and leadership abilities. Finally, I will share with the reader whether I consider myself a change agent or a change leader and explain why.
Change Leader vs. Change Agent
An ever-growing push for transformational change to school systems has teachers taking on much larger leadership roles than once expected. Once thought to only lead in the classroom or within the confinements of the principal and his/her own school’s vision, paradigm shifts have teachers branching out of the teacher leader role, and into change agent roles, such as department/team leaders, curriculum specialists, transformation specialists, and professional development leaders. However, while some teachers are taking more active roles in change agent positions, research has shown that most teachers remain comfortable in the classroom with the minimal description of what it means to be a change leader, due in part to what they feel is a lack of skills, personality, motivation, strategies, and/or experience to effectively become a change agent.
As a result, one of the biggest setbacks in transformational efforts within the school system is a lack of highly-qualified, skilled, and willing change agents. These are leaders that have a clear vision and patience to see the process of transforming an entire school system, and whom seek the communication and collaboration from other change agents and leaders, both internally and externally, yet remain consistent in spite of not always having the support or trust of other stakeholders during this process. Contrarily, most schools have principals that are better referred to as traditional change leaders. These leaders tend to develop a strong support system, whether by belief or fear, that is centered mainly on their own visions and goals for their school agenda, specifically.
As a result, many teachers come into teaching with the understanding that they work for the change agents, taking direction from the administration of each school which may eventually lead to them thinking that they have little to add to a school system’s transformation. Teachers tend to take direction and policy change in a trickle down manner throughout the progression of the change process with leadership focus being on the authoritarian role of “others”, such as policymakers or administrators, who direct the implementation of the proposed changes (Hargreaves, 2007). Lukacs (2009) suggests that the most important difference between the teacher change agent and teacher leadership models is that teacher change agents have areas of expertise that allow them to take initiatives in a “bottom up” design with the school as the unit of change, and not only the classroom.
Key Concepts for Leading Transformational Change
Duffy (2008) identifies ten leadership competencies for leading transformational...