Professional agency and its features in supporting teachers’ professional learning

Kauppinen, M., Kainulainen, J., Hökkä, P., & Vähäsantanen, K. European Journal of Teacher Education, 2020.


Research has shown that professional agency is pivotal for understanding teachers’ professional learning in different contexts. However, we lack an elaborated understanding of teachers’ professional agency in the context of in-service teacher education aimed at supporting teachers’ professional learning. To contribute to this discussion, this study investigated primary school teachers’ professional agency during in-service education and the features related to the emergence of their agency. The findings show that teachers enacted professional agency regarding their professional identity and work in various ways, suggesting that the roles of different social scaffoldings for professional agency varied. The teachers viewed pedagogical hands-on practice with colleagues’ support as especially meaningful. However, transferring learning to classroom practices depends on the teacher’s professional agency in identity renegotiation. Therefore, this study highlights the need for continuous, practice-based scaffolding that supports teachers’ agency – and accordingly professional learning – if we wish to enhance the efficiency of in-service education.

Copyright © 2020, Taylor & Francis.

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