ERIC Number: EJ723978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
A Sociocultural Approach to Understanding Teacher Identity, Agency and Professional Vulnerability in a Context of Secondary School Reform
Teaching & Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, v21 n8 p899-916 Nov 2005
This paper uses a sociocultural theoretical lens, incorporating mediated agency [Wertsch et al. (1993). A sociocultural approach to agency. In A. Forman, N. Minick, & A. Stone (Eds.), "Contexts for learning sociocultural dynamics in children's development" (pp. 336-357). New York: Oxford University Press] to examine the dynamic interplay among teacher identity, agency, and context as these affect how secondary teachers report experiencing professional vulnerability, particularly in terms of their abilities to achieve their primary purposes in teaching students. Two mediational systems that shape teacher agency and their professional vulnerability are addressed. These are: (a) the early influences on teacher identity; and (b) the current reform context. Interview data revealed that the political and social context along with early teacher development shaped teachers' sense of identity and sense of purpose as a teacher. Survey and interview data indicate that there was a disjuncture between teacher identity and expectations of the new reform mandates. Teacher agency was clearly constrained in the new reform context. Teachers struggled to remain openly vulnerable with their students, and to create trusting learning environments in what they described as a more managerial profession with increased accountability pressures. Directions for future research are also discussed.
Descriptors: Social Environment, School Restructuring, Educational Change, Sociocultural Patterns, Secondary School Teachers
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York