teachers as agents of change

The changing role of a teacher
A bird’s eye view of issues from the
early 20th century to present day
The Rise of the Scientific Method
Franklin Bobbitt proposes the analysis of adult life
and work to scientifically determine the skills and the
content for training learners for “proficiency in
citizenship” (2013, p. 11).
The teacher is seen as a member of the scientific
community. An educator’s mandate is to follow a set
curriculum that would provide the training necessary
for students to have productive adult lives (Bobbitt,
2013) .
Dewey and Montessori
Montessori’s approach “elevates and transforms the role of teachers”
(Flinders & Thornton, 2013, p. 5).
Teachers observe students and develop activities to help them develop their
interests and abilities. Dewey’s approach changes the teacher’s role to one of
facilitator rather than a dispenser of pre-determined knowledge.
The progressive education movement of the 30’s and 40’s enables
teachers to have greater independence and control over curricular
implementation, instructional strategies and evaluation processes.
However, Lemiski and Clausen (2006) suggest lack of training for
Ontario’s teachers prevented this reform movement from being
successful. While Alberta’s teachers were given extensive training in
educational strategies, they were not given the education necessary to
adopt the basic theory of the new progressive curriculum.
50s and 60s
• Education is strongly influenced by Ralph Tyler
who advocates the use of curriculum
specialists and the production of curriculum
that includes specific behavioral objectives.
• The role of the classroom teacher is to
implement the curriculum so that
changes(actions, feeling and thinking) in
student behavior occur.
70s, 80s and 90’s
Attention in education focused on the reasons why previous
reform movements failed to produce the desired outcomes.
(Flinders and Thornton, 2013)
Apple and Teitlebaum: (1986) Teachers are losing control of curriculum and
their skills.
Pinar (1993) : Teachers are at the mercy of the hegemonic process ” (social,
political and economic influence).
Fullan (1998) : “Teachers failed to make the effort, or their commitment
turns to despair, in the face of overload and political alienation” (p. 6).
Apple (2013) : Teachers were suffering the effects of “intensification”, the
erosion of work privileges, and a “workload that has escalated over time” (p.
The 21st Century Teacher
class size
“Never before has the need been so great for teachers to become agents of
change and position themselves as problem solvers at the school level”
(Owens, 2008, p. 57)