Are You A Change Agent?

A change agent, or agent of change, is someone who intentionally or indirectly causes or accelerates social, cultural, or behavioral change. Everett Rogers (2003) expounds on this definition with several key points (p. 27). He also identifies “seven roles for the change agent in the process of introducing an innovation in a client system” (p. 369). In the brief analysis that follows, I will identify and reflect upon my role as a change agent (in connection with my position as a Technology Curriculum Specialist), using the roles Rogers’ has identified as a guide.

  1. A change agent often initially helps clients become aware of the need to alter their behavior. Probably the most difficult aspect of my job, I am constantly implementing new techniques to help teachers understand the many benefits of implementing technology throughout their teaching. In fact, this is the very reason I created the Pay Attention motivational presentation.
  2. Once a need for change is created, a change agent must develop rapport with his or her clients. I have found that it is not until a teacher trusts me that I am able to help them use technology. While humor can be a good door opener, I’ve found the most success in gaining “client” confidence by showing teachers that technology is not meant to replace the many great things that they are currently doing with their students. Rather, technology works best as an enhancement to lessons and activities that have already proven to be effective.
  3. The change agent is responsible for analyzing clients’ problems in order to determine why existing alternatives do not meet their needs. In identifying the problems that teachers have in delivering engaging instruction (poor student retention, boredom, etc.), I am able to suggest alternative instructional methods that incorporate technology in exciting and effective ways.
  4. The change agent seeks to motivate their clients’ interests in the innovation. I provide such motivation in the form of follow-up. It has been my experience that professional development without follow-up is a futile effort.
  5. A change agent seeks to influence clients’ behavior change in accordance with recommendations based on the clients’ needs. Please see number two above.
  6. Change agents may effectively stabilize new behavior through reinforcing messages to clients who have adopted, thus helping to “freeze” the new behavior. Please see number four above.
  7. The end goal for a change agent is to develop self-renewing behavior on the part of clients. My job is not complete until the teachers with whom I work no longer need me. At that point, they can fully and confidently implement a wide array of technology throughout their curriculum. As technology is never stagnant, this role ensures that I will have job security for many years to come.
In conclusion (and upon reviewing the roles of the change agent as have been identified above), it is evident that my role as a Technology Curriculum Specialist can easily be summarized as that of a change agent. Now if only more teachers were eagerly willing to change.

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Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.

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