School leaders as projective agents: Online spaces for heritage languages during Covid-19

Jonathan Hancock*, Andrew Hancock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article reports on a national survey of complementary school providers in Scotland to gain insights into their perspectives of the abrupt transition to online learning spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. Data gathered from a questionnaire (n=34) and in-depth interviews (n=13) covering 19 different heritage languages are analysed through the lens of practical evaluation, projective agency, and the concept of uncertainty in education. While teacher agency has been a subject of recent study and debate, there is limited research on enacting agency in complementary school settings, and in times of flux or disruption. The study sheds light on the ways in which school leaders developed and enacted agency on multiple levels and in complex and nuanced ways as schools adapted their diverse provision in the face of challenges triggered by Covid-19. Findings reveal that (i) emergency measures and subsequent closure of school sites led to further pressures and growing uncertainty for these schools and for the learners, families, and communities that they support, and (ii) the creation of online spaces provided opportunities for complementary schools to explore new tools and resources, facilitate innovative forms of learning and teaching, and extend the reach of their school. The article concludes with a consideration of new avenues for complementary school planning and provision, and implications for developing online learning spaces for heritage languages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Early online date31 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • heritage languages
  • complementary schools
  • online learning
  • agency
  • language planning


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