International Study Association on Teachers and Teaching

Pantic, N. (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Chairing and presenting in Symposium 'Researching teacher agency of student, novice and practicing teachers' The concept of teacher agency is gaining currency in education literature and policies as a vehicle for change, enhancing student learning, school improvement and social justice (Ballard, 2012; Fullan, 1993; Priestley, Biesta, Philippou & Robinson, 2015; Vongalis-Macrow, 2007). Accordingly, teacher preparation for exercising agency is increasingly promoted in teacher education and development programmes (Lipponen & Kumpulainen, 2011; Villegas & Lucas, 2002). However, teachers’ acting as agents is context-dependent and relational; they cannot simply be taught or regulated to do things differently (Vongalis-Macrow, 2007). Papers in this symposium address this problem by studying teacher agency as a matter of interplay between teachers’ beliefs, identities and capacities developed in teacher education, and school structures and cultures within which they have varying degrees of influence as student, novice and practicing teachers. Studies presented in the symposuim papers employ a variety of methods and tools such as questionnaires, interviews, reflective diaries and logs, and contribute to the relatively young field of empirical research of teacher agency. The findings build an understanding of the ways in which teachers exercise agency as a capacity to critically shape their responses to situations in the context of their workplaces (Priestley et al., 2015) within the space for action as interpreted by the teacher at different career stages. The papers discuss influences of and implications for teacher education and in-service training programmes, and methodological challenges for future research. Novice teachers effectively creating agency for school development Anna van der Want & Jacobiene Meirink ICLON, Leiden University Graduate School of Teaching, Leiden, The Netherlands. Tensions in teacher agency during the first year of teaching. Merel van der Wal, Helma Oolbekkink & Harmen Schaap Primary school teachers’ professional agency in the course of an in-service training programme Merja Kauppinen, Johanna Kainulainen, Päivi Hökkä, Katja Vähäsantanen Study of (student) teachers’ agency for social justice: some methodological considerations Nataša Pantić School of Education, University of Edinburgh Email: This paper draws on two studies of teacher agency to consider the potential and limitations of different methods and tools. Both studies explored a specific form of teacher agency for social justice using a conceptual model in which agency consists of teachers’ 1) sense of purpose: beliefs about their role and social justice; 2) competence: in inclusive pedagogical approaches; 3) autonomy: context-embedded interactions with others; and 4) reflexivity: about practices and contexts. Study 1 employed participatory mixed methods including questionnaire, interviews, observations and reflective logs to collect data about these aspects of agency from ten teachers in one primary school. Study 2 explored the same aspects of agency with 299 student teachers enrolled on two undergraduate and one Masters programmes. Questionnaire, interview and reflective log were adapted, while observations were replaced with a scenario simulation tool to collect data on enactment of agency by student teachers with varying amounts of teaching experience. The paper addresses some of the methodological challenges involved. Teachers’ practices are highly contextualized and dependant on those of others. Therefore it is difficult to distil the essence of teachers’ acting as agents within the dynamic human interactions located in complex politically and culturally shaped institutional settings that essentially cannot be controlled. Data collected with the different tools was triangulated to establish aspects of agency that can be meaningfully captured by the questionnaire, and those for which complementary qualitative data is needed to enable comprehensive cross-contexts analyses. Implications for future research are discussed.
Period3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017
Event typeConference
Conference number18
LocationSalamanca, Spain