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Teachers as change agents in the national curriculum reform in Iran: a social marketing approach to upscale an educational reform

McGill University
Publication Date
  • Education - Teacher Training
  • Communication
  • Education


This qualitative study in part explores the beliefs, attitudes and intentions of Iranian elementary school teachers about engaging in a curriculum reform endeavour, the Systems Thinking Education (STE) curriculum, and investigates the main motivational factors for the teachers' involvement in the program. Within a social marketing framework, this study also defines and develops the strategies and policies of an Iranian education Non Governmental Organization (NGO) that is steering the STE project. Systems Thinking (ST) is a set of required skills for understanding the systematic structure of a phenomenon and the resulting behaviour of that structure, and improves problem-solving and decision-making abilities. The ST framework is a relatively new concept in the Iranian education system and could be an appropriate alternative for the current memorization based system in formal education. The findings of this study expand the application of a social marketing framework to the field of education for the first time. In this work, social marketing provides a systematic approach to clearly set the goals; define the target group; explore the main barriers and motivational factors for the target group to achieve the goals; and develop strategies, techniques, and tools to remove the barriers and reinforce the motivational factors in order to bring about the desired behavioural change in teachers to successfully implement the reform. In brief, by primary means of individual interviews and focus group conversations, the author examines how Iranian elementary teachers, as the main change agents of curriculum reform, can be motivated to engage in the STE curriculum.

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