ACADEMICS' CONCEPTIONS OF PEDAGOGICAL CHANGE AGENCY AND THE CHALLENGES OF ACTING AS A CHANGE AGENT IN THE FIELDS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

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Abstract

As the academics in universities are experiencing rapid and continuous change, skills for promoting pedagogical transformations on an organizational level are called for. Pedagogical transformations are typically explored in the context of pedagogical training programmes targeted towards educating more pedagogically aware individuals. However, in most Finnish universities, especially in the fields of science and technology, no pedagogical training is required from the teaching faculty. In this study, pedagogical transformations are explored on a communal level through unofficial change agency. Change agents are pedagogically aware faculty members who act as brokers by establishing new mutually shared pedagogical concepts and practices between their academic and pedagogical communities of practice. The aim of this study is to investigate how university academics define pedagogical change agency in the fields of science and technology, and what kinds of challenges are related to acting as a change agent. 13 university teachers from the fields of science and technology were asked to describe change agency before participating to pedagogical change agency programme in Spring 2011. The descriptions were compared to the model of brokering and categorized with content analysis.

The findings suggest that pedagogical change agency can be realized through practices, such as making changes, developing holistic systems, creating boundary practices, and translation, coordination and alignment between perspectives. Changing by doing in practice was perceived challenging because of resistance to change and lack of time and other resources for development. Change agency can also be realized through modes of belonging to a community of practice as multimembership, engagement, creating a shared repertoire, leading by example, motivating for development, and imagination. The perceived challenges of the modes of belonging were related to the nature of the joint enterprise, as the teachers talked about the individualistic nature of academic work. Identities of change agency were based on non-participation, development motivation, and expertise. Challenges of identity were also related to the identities of non-participation as well as anarchism. When realized through negotiation of meaning, change agency included sharing information, reinterpreting meaning, and promoting dialogue. The difficulties related to meaning included the perceived lack of value for teaching. The interviewees also underrated pedagogical development themselves by joking about being bad employees and silly idealists who avoid doing real work.

The results imply that change agency can be understood according to the model of brokering. When promoting pedagogical transformations in engineering education, recognizing brokering between various communities of practice as a valuable source of development and providing support for the ways of acting as a change agent presented in this study become critical. The challenges described in the data highlight the academic traditions of engineering education. Finding ways of overcoming those challenges might support the spreading of pedagogical transformations on a communal level. The revised model of brokering and the challenges experienced in acting as a change agent should be considered as a basis for designing pedagogical training programmes in engineering education.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7TH INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY, EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE (INTED2013)
EditorsLG Chova, AL Martinez, IC Torres
Pages2447-2456
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Technology, Education and Development Conference - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 4 Mar 20136 Mar 2013
Conference number: 7

Publication series

NameINTED Proceedings
PublisherIATED-INT ASSOC TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION A
ISSN (Print)2340-1079

Conference

ConferenceInternational Technology, Education and Development Conference
Abbreviated titleINTED
CountrySpain
CityValencia
Period04/03/201306/03/2013

Keywords

  • Engineering education
  • change agency
  • brokering
  • training and development
  • transformative change
  • ENGINEERING EDUCATORS

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