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Preservice teacher agency in activity theory approach: a case study André Rodrigues & Cristiano Mattos

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Presentation on theme: "Preservice teacher agency in activity theory approach: a case study André Rodrigues & Cristiano Mattos"— Presentation transcript:

1 Preservice teacher agency in activity theory approach: a case study André Rodrigues & Cristiano Mattos

2 Outline o Research problem (general and specific) o Theoretical Framework (Freire, CHAT and ethical agency) o A brief methodological overview and contextual elements (who, where and how) o The case of preservice teachers actions o Discussion and some implications

3 Shaping the research questions [general] How physics teachers face practical issues in their own formation? How the practice [particularly the practicum] helps to promote “better” teachers?

4 Shaping the research questions [specific] How preservice teachers become more engaged in students learning and sensitive to students needs? How agency is fostered and developed throughout practicum?

5 Theoretical framework Although recent literature on teacher education underlines agency as a key-concept, there is no consensus on how agency arises, develops and what is its main features. epistemic agency(Scardamalia, 2002); relational agency (Edwards, 2005); transformative agency (Virkkunen, 2006); etc

6 Agency in CHAT tradition Vygotsky and Leontiev did not talk explicitly about agency. However they reached some core issues related to the current concept of agency. How human being masters its own behavior and how they change the flow of its own activity. Expansive Learning (Engeström, 2001) can help in shaping a powerful version of the concept of agency.

7 Freire's contributions Paulo Freire’s problem-posing education or education for critical consciousness. The route to overcome contradictions within social and educational systems is not done in “moralistic propositions rather it is in atmosphere of ethical rigor to be created with needed and urgent social and political transformations.” (Freire, 2001) Commitement and responsibility for and trough the praxis transformation.

8 Context: Initial Teacher Education (Physics)  Institute of Physics – University of São Paulo  Teacher education ≠ Scientific carrier  Course entitled “Physics Teaching Practice”  Practicum and Co-teaching  They have to conduct 12 classes in one year (2010)  Discussions at University  Practicum at School  Hands-on experiments  Using laboratory protocols

9 Research design Cohort of 60 student teachers 14 discussion classes at University Qualitative analysis of the transcribed content Situations: workshop; practicum and discussion classes

10 The case: Problem and resistance 249. Albert: I think that may be, if they [students from other class] are not disturbing me. As you [Rachel] said: “they want only to set fire on some steel wool [funny part in the physics lab experiment]”. If it is only that! Then, it is “bye, bye”. I would put them out of the classroom without doubts. Even if they were showing interest. I don’t know, why they are taking history classes and they do not want it. Since I am not their teacher, they could stay. If I were their teacher, they would get out anyway. As I am an intern for me it doesn’t matter. I am there, even though I am not evaluating them.

11 The case: Moving forward and re- elaboration of the problem... less on the Rachel agency... Little by little the participants began to push the discussion toward questioning school organization using the university organization as a parameter.

12 The case: Building up instruments to go further 309. Professor Velma: I am concerned with myself, the absolute freedom, I want to get in and get out, I [emphasis]. Yet I think that one had to think also in collectivist, in the public, but I think it is missing. It is missing! (…) Then, when someone said: “It is not my problem!” Someone at some point said it. I don’t know in what moment, now I cannot localize. But it is the same, you see a kid throwing out rubbish on the floor, on the street. He is not your child, your nephew, neither your relative. Do you say anything or not?

13 Agency in the Practicum Self-performance centred activity what is relatively known from teacher career studies. Novice teachers are typically categorized as “survival”. Frequently the novice teacher is concerned with his own performance rather than student learning issues, i.e. the object of teaching activity is primarily one’s own performance. Thus, clearly agency is carried out insofar as achieve this still narrow goal.

14 Agency in the Practicum The expression ‘feel like a fifth wheel’ synthetize the entrance of the student teachers at school placement. Often ones have to discover, understand and adapt to the school social dynamic. Due to such lack of knowledge regard to school daily life, action is quite restricted at least in the outset. It is a cue that student teacher activity is not effectively linked with school activity system. To large extent this activity is strongly bounded that, in turn, restricts the field for possible innovative actions.

15 Agency in the Practicum Physics teaching is involved by the sense of immutability, certainty and truth what makes student teachers assured that there is only one way to teach and to do something different at a price of being non-scientific. Thus, it puts in the activity of teaching Physics a very stable routine/script mainly dictated by the lab guidelines and textbooks. The activity is working largely based on operation rather than conscious actions.

16 Expanding the object of student teacher activity [i] Student teacher: Self-performance, delivery a lesson, fulfils the guideline. They are in a university activity in the school. [ii] Teacher: Evaluating, planning, student learning. [iii] Citizen participant: school transformation, social justice, broader object beyond the school.

17 Ethical agency … as a form of commitment with the expansion of the object toward a more inclusive and dialogical perspective. … envision of the concrete interconnection of its own activity with the surrounding others.

18 Thank you!


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