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Teacher Agency in Professional Learning and Development: Teachers leading their own professional growth

Farrugia, Mark; (2021) Teacher Agency in Professional Learning and Development: Teachers leading their own professional growth. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores teachers’ professional learning and development (PLD). This term is used because it comprises the elemental processes of professional growth. In particular, the thesis considers notions of teacher agency for PLD from a self-determined perspective. As a school senior leader these issues are critical because the quality of learning is relative to teachers’ openness to growth and self-efficacy. Research was carried out through an exploratory case-study of teachers in the primary section of a school in Malta who were given the opportunity to plan their PLD process over a year: 14 teachers took part. Through collective reflections, projected goals have been implemented, evaluated and adapted in their classrooms. Using a mixed methods approach, data were gathered through interviews, focus-groups, a learning-style inventory, field observations and documentary analysis. Gathered data provided evidence of teachers’ response to self-determined PLD with a particular focus on agency and self-efficacy. The researcher occupied multiple roles within the research: leader, researcher and participant as observer. Seven findings emerged from the research where teachers: 1. value self-determined PLD with supporting structures for collective reflection and action: 2. prefer learning through practical, hands-on experiences based on mastery experience: 3. need more practice and support in reflection, self-observation and metacognition: 4. agentic ability depends on the depth of reflection: 5. school culture is critical for teacher self-efficacy and agentic growth: 6. collaborative cultures support collective and harmonic (individual/collective) agency and 7. personal learning factors (such as learning-styles and individual learning) are secondary to the purpose of learning (student learning) and collective needs. The thesis contributes to knowledge by confirming previous theories of PLD effectiveness while proposing a broader awareness of how teacher agency and efficacy can be understood, enacted and supported. It proposes a tier of teacher agency dependent on reflective capacity and some proactive initiatives that are conducive to personal and professional growth.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Teacher Agency in Professional Learning and Development: Teachers leading their own professional growth
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2021. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Learning and Leadership
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134026
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