Layers of learning: Multi-dimensional agency in powerful professional development

Presentation Date: 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Location: 

Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference (EQRC), Las Vegas, NV

Presentation Slides: 

Teacher agency is a promising lever for improving teacher practice, but too often it is presented as an “all-or-nothing” prospect. Moreover, teacher agency as it relates to professional development is under-studied and under-theorized. Responding to this gap and drawing on 25 teachers’ in-depth accounts of professional development (PD), I propose a multi-dimensional (and thus more practically useful) conception of agency. Specifically, I identify three dimensions of agency vis-à-vis PD: agency over refers to teachers’ capacity to opt into or out of learning experiences; agency during refers to teachers’ capacity to shape a learning experience to respond to their needs; and agency emerging from refers to teachers’ capacity to link a learning experience to subsequent practice. In addition to descriptive accounts of each dimension in practice, I discuss practical implications of this expanded view for improving PD design and policy and by extension teacher practice.