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Preschool teachers achieving agency
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies (from 2013). (UBB)
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Teaching is a concept that many in Sweden associate with what teachers do in schools, but not with what preschool teachers do in preschool. Many consider teaching to be something that the teacher does in front of a class of pupils in a formal setting where the teachers provide pupils with instructions in various lessons covering one subject at a time, according to agreed curricula.

The Education Act and the curriculum regulate the Swedish preschool. According to the Education Act teaching is described as goal-oriented processes which enhances children’s development and learning and the concept is to be used in compulsory schools as well as in the preschools. The concept of teaching in preschools was included in the Educational Act in 2010, but is not mentioned in the preschool curriculum. Although preschool teachers are supposed to teach, inspections made by the Swedish Schools Inspectorate show that many do not. Many preschool teachers do not use the concept of teaching when describing what they do when promoting children´s learning and development. Instead, many talk of children´s learning. The Swedish preschool have a long tradition of positioning their pedagogical practice as something other than the pedagogical practice in compulsory schools and teaching being something that is thought of as something that is done only in schools make introducing the concept of teaching in preschool difficult. In order to get the preschool teachers to use the concept of teaching preschool principals try to focus on the concept of teaching in discussions amongst the staff.

The aim of this paper is to discuss teacher agency and how it is achieved in concrete settings by preschool teachers and other staff. Data from an ongoing project is presented. The research questions are

  • To what extend is teacher agency achieved by preschool teachers when the concept of teaching is discussed?
  • What structures frame the ability to achieve teacher agency?

The empirical material consist of video recordings of actual events in the everyday practice in preschool and sound recordings of discussions between preschool teachers and other staff. The research method of video stimulated recall was used in order to obtain the preschool teacher´s thoughts and reflections on their own teaching. The empirical material was analyzed with the help of Biesta, Priestly and Robinson´s (2015) ecological model of teacher agency as a “temporally constructed engagement with different structural environments” (Emirbayer & Mische, p. 970, 1998). This model is informed by John Dewey´s pragmatic philosophy and his use of transactions. Preliminary findings show the importance of professionalism for preschool teacher in forming a structure that frames the ability to achieve teacher agency.

References:

Biesta, G., Priestley, M. & Robinson, S. (2015). The role of beliefs in teacher agency. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice, 21 (6), 624-640.

Emirbayer, M., & Mische, A. (1998). What is agency? American Journal of Sociology, 103, 962-1023.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Educational Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-66647OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-66647DiVA, id: diva2:1189722
Conference
NERA 2018, 46th congress. Educational Research: Boundaries, Breaches and Bridges. 8-10 March 2018 University of Oslo, Norway
Available from: 2018-03-12 Created: 2018-03-12 Last updated: 2018-08-08Bibliographically approved

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Hildén, Ebba

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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