Research Article

Exploring the role of instructional leaders in promoting agency in teachers’ professional learning

Dana A. Robertson 1 * , Lauren Breckenridge Padesky 2 , Laurie “Darian” Thrailkill 3 , Avia Kelly 4 , Cynthia H. Brock 4
More Detail
1 School of Education, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA2 Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design, Hawaii Department of Education, Honolulu, HI, USA3 Department of Literacy Studies, English Education, and History Education, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA4 School of Teacher Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY, USA* Corresponding Author
International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(1), 2024, ep2402, https://doi.org/10.30935/ijpdll/14058
Published Online: 22 December 2023, Published: 01 January 2024
OPEN ACCESS   254 Views   132 Downloads
Download Full Text (PDF)

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study used structural analysis of conversational episodes and content analysis to examine how two instructional leaders fostered teacher agency and collaboration in planning ongoing structures and content during a yearlong professional learning experience in one elementary school. Framed within a theory of agency, we found a merging of insider and outsider knowledge in the interactions between university partners and the two leaders of the English language arts leadership team that occurred across time, that agentive discourse was topically coherent among the leadership team as a collective group, and that the collective group maintained reflective and forward-looking common professional learning goals. We argue that meaningful professional development contexts position all participants in ways that value and trust their individual contributions and prompt them to act agentively to meet individual learning goals while maintaining a focus on the school’s collective goals.

CITATION (APA)

Robertson, D. A., Padesky, L. B., Thrailkill, L. “., Kelly, A., & Brock, C. H. (2024). Exploring the role of instructional leaders in promoting agency in teachers’ professional learning. International Journal of Professional Development, Learners and Learning, 6(1), ep2402. https://doi.org/10.30935/ijpdll/14058

REFERENCES

  1. Achinstein, B., & Ogawa, R. T. (2006). (In)Fidelity: What the resistance of new teachers reveals about professional principles and prescriptive educational policies. Harvard Educational Review, 76, 30-63. https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.76.1.e14543458r811864
  2. Au, K. H., Raphael, T. E., & Mooney, K. (2008). Improving reading achievement in elementary schools: Guiding change in a time of standards. In S. B. Wepner, & D. S. Strickland (Eds.), Supervision of reading programs (pp. 71-89). Teachers College Press.
  3. Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.1
  4. Blachowicz, C. L. Z., Fisher, P. J. L., Ogle, D., & Watts-Taffe, S. (2006). Vocabulary: Questions from the classroom. Reading Research Quarterly, 41(4), 524-539. https://doi.org/10.1598/RRQ.41.4.5
  5. Bratman, M. E. (1999). Faces of intention: Selected essays on intention and agency. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/cbo9780511625190
  6. Brodie, K. (2021). Teacher agency in professional learning communities. Professional Development in Education, 47(4), 560-573. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2019.1689523
  7. Bryk, A. S. (2015). 2014 AERA distinguished lecture: Accelerating how we learn to improve. Educational Researcher, 44(9), 467-477. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x15621543
  8. Butterfill, S. A. (2015). Planning for collective agency. In C. Misselhorn (Ed.), Collective agency and cooperation in natural and artificial systems (pp. 149-167). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15515-9_8
  9. Castle, K. (2006). Autonomy through pedagogical research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 22, 1094-1103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2006.07.001
  10. Coburn, C. E. (2001). Collective sensemaking about reading: How teachers mediate reading policy in their professional communities. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 23, 145-170. https://doi.org/10.3102/01623737023002145
  11. Crafton, L., & Kaiser, E. (2011). The language of collaboration: Dialogue and identity in teacher professional development. Improving Schools, 14(2), 104-116. https://doi.org/10.1177/1365480211410437
  12. Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute. https://doi.org/10.54300/122.311
  13. Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1995). Human autonomy: The basis of true self-esteem. In M. Kemmis (Ed.), Efficacy, agency, and self-esteem (pp. 31-49). Plenum. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-1280-0_3
  14. Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181-199. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x08331140
  15. Desimone, L. M., & Stuckey, D. (2014). Sustaining teacher professional development. In L. E. Martin, S. Kragler, D. J. Quatroche, & K. L. Bauserman (Eds.), Handbook of professional development in education: Successful models and practices, preK-12 (pp. 467-482). Guilford Press.
  16. Dillon, D. R., O’Brien, D. G., Sato, M., & Kelly, C. M. (2011). Professional development and teacher education for reading instruction. In M. L. Kamil, P. D. Pearson, E. B. Moje, & P. P. Afflerbach (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 627-660). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203840412.ch26
  17. Firestone, A. R., Cruz, R. A., & Rodl, J. E. (2020). Teacher study groups: An integrative literature synthesis. Review of Educational Research, 90, 675-709. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654320938128
  18. Gersten, R., Dimino, J., Jayanthi, M., Kim, J. S., & Santoro, L. E. (2010). Teacher study group: Impact of the professional development model on reading instruction and student outcomes in first-grade classrooms. American Educational Research Journal, 47(3), 694-739. https://doi.org/10.3102/0002831209361208
  19. Kindall, H. D., Crowe, T., & Elsass, A. (2018). The principal’s influence on the novice teacher’s professional development in literacy instruction. Professional Development in Education, 44(2), 307-310. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2017.1299031
  20. Korolija, N., & Linell, P. (1996). Episodes: Coding and analysing coherence in multiparty conversation. Linguistics, 34, 799-831. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.1996.34.4.799
  21. Krippendorf, K. (2013). Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. SAGE.
  22. Lai, C., Li, Z., & Gong, Y. (2016). Teacher agency and professional learning in cross-cultural teaching contexts: Accounts of Chinese teachers from international schools in Hong Kong. Teaching and Teacher Education, 54, 12-21. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2015.11.007
  23. Li, L., & Ruppar, A. (2021). Conceptualizing teacher agency for inclusive education: A systematic and international review. Teacher Education and Special Education, 44(1), 42-59. https://doi.org/10.1177/0888406420926976
  24. Matsumura, L. C., Garnier, H. E., & Spybrook, J. (2013). Literacy coaching to improve student reading achievement: A multi-level mediation model. Language and Instruction, 25, 35-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.11.001
  25. McChesney, K., & Aldridge, J. M. (2021). What gets in the way? A new conceptual model for the trajectory from teacher professional development to impact. Professional Development in Education, 47, 834-852. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2019.1667412
  26. Miles, M. M., Huberman, A. M., & Saldaña, J. (2020). Qualitative data analysis: A methods sourcebook. SAGE.
  27. Paris, C., & Lung, P. (2008). Agency and child-centered practices in novice teachers: Autonomy, efficacy, intentionality, and reflectivity. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 29, 253-268. https://doi.org/10.1080/10901020802275302
  28. Parsons, A. W., Parsons, S. A., Dodman, S. L., Nuland, L. R., Pierczynski, M., & Ramirez, E. M. (2019). Longitudinal literacy professional development in an urban elementary charter school. The Journal of Educational Research, 112(4), 447-462. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220671.2018.1552915
  29. Reeve, J., & Tseng, C-M. (2011). Agency as a fourth aspect of students’ engagement during learning activities. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 36, 257-267. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cedpsych.2011.05.002
  30. Robertson, D. A., Padesky, L., & Brock, C. H. (2019). Cultivating student agency through teacher professional development. Theory Into Practice, 59, 192-201. https://doi/org/10.1080/00405841.2019. 1705090
  31. Robertson, D. A., Padesky, L., Ford-Connors, E., & Paratore, J. R. (2020). What does it mean to say coaching is relational? Journal of Literacy Research, 52, 55-78. https://doi.org/10.1177/1086296X 19896632
  32. Sailors, M., & Price, L. R. (2010). Professional development that supports the teaching of cognitive reading strategy instruction. The Elementary School Journal, 110(3), 301-322. https://doi.org/10.1086/648980
  33. Smagorinsky, P. (2008). The methods section as conceptual epicenter in constructing social science research reports. Written Communication, 25(3), 389-411. https://doi.org/10.1177/0741088308317815
  34. Snow, C. E. (2015). 2014 Wallace Foundation distinguished lecture. Rigor and realism: Doing educational science in the real world. Educational Researcher, 44(9), 460-466. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189x15619166
  35. Taylor, B. M., Raphael, T. E., & Au, K. H. (2011). Reading and school reform. In M. L. Kamil, P. D. Pearson, E. B. Moje, & P. P. Afflerbach (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (pp. 594-628). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203840412.ch25
  36. Wheatley, K. F. (2002). The potential benefits of teacher efficacy doubts for educational reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 18, 5-22. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0742-051x(01)00047-6
  37. Wilkinson, L. (2005). Improving literacy outcomes for students in disadvantaged schools: The importance of teacher theory. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 28, 127-137. https://search.informit.org/doi/10.3316/ielapa.939758998344955