Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 347–373 | Cite as

Understanding teachers as change agents: An investigation of primary school teachers’ self-perception

  • H. R. M. A. van der HeijdenEmail author
  • D. Beijaard
  • J. J. M. Geldens
  • H. L. Popeijus


This study reports on a large-scale survey on primary school teachers’ perceptions of being change agents and the extent to which these perceptions are related to personality and contextual factors. A principal component analysis and confirmatory factor analysis revealed nine characteristics of teachers as change agents. Personality and contextual factors are related to teachers’ perceptions of being a change agent. Four teacher profiles were distinguished according to the varying degrees of teachers’ perceptions of themselves as change agents. This study adds to the further understanding of teachers as change agents, their characteristics and how these characteristics are related to personality and contextual factors.


Contextual factors Personality factors Primary education Teacher characteristics Teachers as change agents 



This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) under project number: 023.002.035 (Doctoral Grant for Teachers). We would like to thank our cooperating partners for their support and for distributing the questionnaire to the primary schools in their relationship networks.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. R. M. A. van der Heijden
    • 1
    Email author
  • D. Beijaard
    • 2
  • J. J. M. Geldens
    • 1
  • H. L. Popeijus
    • 1
  1. 1.De Kempel University of Applied SciencesHelmondThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Eindhoven School of EducationEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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