This article examines the accounts of actions undertaken by Early Career Teachers (ECTs) recently graduated from a social justice-oriented Initial Teacher Education (ITE) program and employed in complex school settings with high levels of student diversity, disadvantage, and poverty. The study drew on theories of teacher agency and agency more broadly to examine the workshadowing observations of the teachers’ practice in classrooms augmented by their reflective accounts in interviews. The study found that the ECTs’ agency, or contextualised social action, can be conceptualised as temporally embedded social engagement directed at addressing their students’ cultural, social and academic needs. The teachers drew on past learnings from their ITE program, committed to future-oriented innovations in teaching, and made in-the-present decisions about actions to resolve emergent contingencies such as resource shortages. We argue that these understandings are usefully enhanced by recognising contingency, consciousness, criticality and creativity as additional features of the teachers’ deliberative programs of action.
Was this research funded?
Yes, research was funded
Kettle, M., Burnett, B., Lampert, J., Comber, B., & Barnes, N. (2022). Conceptualising Early Career Teachers’ Agency and Accounts of Social Action in Disadvantaged Schools. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 47(8). https://doi.org/10.14221/ajte.2022v47n8.1