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Expressions of agency within complex policy structures: Science teachers’ experiences of education policy reforms in Sweden
University of Leeds, UK . (Nona)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6764-954X
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (SMED)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8036-6245
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education. (SMED)
2018 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 40, no 5, p. 538-563Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We explore the experiences of school science teachers as they enact three linked national curriculum and assessment policy reforms in Sweden. Our goal is to understand teachers' differing responses to these reforms. A sample of 13 teachers engaged in 2 interviews over a 6-9-month period. Interviews included exploration of professional background and school context, perceptions of the aims of the policy reforms and experiences of working with these reforms in the classroom. Analysis was guided by an individual-oriented sociocultural perspective on professional agency. Here teaching is conceptualised as an ongoing interplay between teachers' knowledge, skills and personal goals, and the characteristics of the social, institutional and policy settings in which they work. Our analysis shows that navigating the ensuing continuities and contradictions results in many different expressions of teacher agency, e.g. loss of autonomy and trust, pushing back, subversion, transfer of authority, and creative tensions. Typically, an individual teacher's enactment of these reforms involved several of these expressions of agency. We demonstrate that the sociocultural perspective provides insights into teachers' responses to education policy reform likely to be missed by studies that focus largely on individual teacher knowledge/beliefs about reform or skills in implementing' reform practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 40, no 5, p. 538-563
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
Curriculum Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-311216DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2018.1435921ISI: 000428300600004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-311216DiVA, id: diva2:1059052
Projects
Grades and national tests in year 6: potential influence on Science teaching
Funder
Swedish Research Council, UVK 2012-5769Available from: 2016-12-22 Created: 2016-12-22 Last updated: 2018-06-20Bibliographically approved

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Lidar, MalenaLundqvist, EvaÖstman, Leif

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