Sustainable education and enabling agency: Generation Z confronts teacher beliefs

Year: 2008

Author: Robertson, Margaret, Burston, Mary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper explores the role or agency in the context of school based change. We argue that sustained and innovative change within schools requires strong levels of support and commitment from all stakeholders in the community including staff, students and parents. In the context of developing capacity to implement innovative practices with online technologies and with a focus on learning mobility we argue that whole school approaches can overcome the negatives and help install the future vision for the school. Leadership is imperative in the process and we distinguish the leader from the manager at Principal level as illustrative of differing and enabling styles. Principals who are entrepreneurial in approach can lead the changes but need strong support and a shared vision with classroom teachers, support staff and senior colleagues. Alignment of purposes, processes and policies at all levels within the school system is critical for sustained change. Where the approach is prone to be laissez-faire the chances of successful transitions in innovative practice are less likely to be achieved. Traditional beliefs, skills and attitudes need to be disturbed. Co-construction and dialogue are imperative for the school to move through what we term the seven-steps for integration of innovation and change in schools' pedagogy. Findings from recent Australian Research Council funded research provide the context for this discussion and affirm our beliefs related to key success factors for moving forward in learning and teaching outcomes.

Key words: Teachers’ working knowledge, Generation Z, online pedagogies, agency