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Browsing by Subject "Professional agency"

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  • Laivuori, Martti (2022)
    Previous research indicates that teachers have a crucial role in the success of a curriculum reform. Teachers can be considered to be on the frontlines of curriculum reform in Finland, where a participatory strategy of reform implementation is employed. To respond to the challenges and changes within the reform, teachers can achieve agency within the professional community. Agency is defined as an object of teacher learning and is characterized by a teachers will, skills and efficacy beliefs for learning. Agency is considered contextual and relational, and it is continuously constructed and evolving. This study aims to examine variation of Finnish teachers’ agency in the professional community within the context of large-scale national curriculum reform. Furthermore, this study aims to explore the relation between the experience of agency in the professional community and views towards curriculum reform and school development. This quantitative study examines a dataset collected from a representative sample of Finnish comprehensive school teachers. Data was collected in 2016 as part of a research project from 74 schools in Finland, representing urban and rural schools, smaller and larger schools as well as schools with a different socioeconomic index. The total number of respondents was 1531. The survey used two validated measures for professional agency and reform school impact in addition to background information on the teachers. Variation in experienced agency and the interrelations of agency and reform were examined using cluster analysis, discriminant function analysis, ANOVAs and Chi-square tests. Results indicate that the teachers could be grouped into high, medium and low agency clusters. Teachers in the low cluster were a pronounced minority. The experience of agency was similar through all clusters even if levels differed. Background variables did not contribute to the variation, but male teachers were found to be more likely to experience low agency. The teachers’ agency also displayed a similar level of low collective efficacy across all clusters. Teachers with high levels of agency had a more positive view on the reform’s impact. These results deepen the concept of teacher professional agency and offer new conceptual understanding into research on Finnish teachers as professionals.