Developing teachers as agents of inclusion and social justice

Pantić, N. & Florian, L. Education Inquiry, 6(3), 2015.


Policies around the world increasingly call for teachers to become ‘agents of change’, often linked to social justice agendas. However, there is little clarity about the kind of competencies such agency involves or how it can be developed in teacher education. This paper draws on theories of teacher agency and inclusive pedagogy to clarify the meaning of teachers as agents of change in the context of inclusion and social justice. Inclusive practice requires the collaboration of teachers and others such as families and other professionals. Agents of change work purposefully with others to challenge the status quo and develop social justice and inclusion. We discuss the possibilities of combining theories of inclusive pedagogy and teacher agency for developing teachers as agents of inclusion and social justice in teacher education. These possibilities include: 1) nurturing commitment to social justice as part of teachers’ sense of purpose; 2) developing competencies in inclusive pedagogical approaches, including working with others; 3) developing relational agency for transforming the conditions of teachers’ workplaces; and 4) a capacity to reflect on their own practices and environments when seeking to support the learning of all students.

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Copyright © 2015, Nataša Pantić & Lani Florian, CC BY.

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