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Teacher agency and the digital: empowerment or control?

Schulte, Barbara LU (2019) In on_education. Journal for Research and Debate p.1-7
Abstract
Teachers are both controlling agents and controlled subjects, in any educational system. Educational research has approached this dual role from a variety of practical and theoretical angles, the most notable perhaps being the perspective of teacher autonomy as it is negotiated between, simply speaking, structure and agency. This essay urges to more critically illuminate the relationship between our conceptions of teacher agency on the one side, and student empowerment on the other. It discusses under what circumstances increased teacher agency may lead to more student empowerment, and generally to a more democratic understanding of schooling; and conversely, how strengthened teacher agency may be able to constrain student... (More)
Teachers are both controlling agents and controlled subjects, in any educational system. Educational research has approached this dual role from a variety of practical and theoretical angles, the most notable perhaps being the perspective of teacher autonomy as it is negotiated between, simply speaking, structure and agency. This essay urges to more critically illuminate the relationship between our conceptions of teacher agency on the one side, and student empowerment on the other. It discusses under what circumstances increased teacher agency may lead to more student empowerment, and generally to a more democratic understanding of schooling; and conversely, how strengthened teacher agency may be able to constrain student empowerment.

To illustrate the argument, the essay draws on observations from the author’s fieldwork at Chinese schools. Particular focus is put on the use of digital technologies, or information and communication technologies, for educational purposes (ICT4E). ICT4E have been associated with a range of benefits, among them their conduciveness for more diversified teaching and more interactive, student-centered learning, as well as for more student participation and strengthened teacher agency. The essay first presents what has been discussed to be the virtues of ICT4E. It moves on to question the naturalized relationship between teacher agency and student empowerment, to then scrutinize how ICT4E, teacher agency, and student empowerment play out in specific contexts. The essay concludes by arguing that we need not lose sight of our normative and political assumptions when discussing teacher agency. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
teacher agency, student empowerment, information and communication technologies for education (ICT4E), politics of education, China
in
on_education. Journal for Research and Debate
issue
5
pages
7 pages
ISSN
2571-7855
project
Nation state versus ethnicity: educating ethnic minorities in South-West China
Digital China
Cash cow, civil space or cooptation: private schools in urban China
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0364abd5-21dc-400d-b3ef-d230695314ff
alternative location
https://www.oneducation.net/no-05_september-2019/teacher-agency-and-the-digital-empowerment-or-control/
date added to LUP
2019-09-16 12:04:58
date last changed
2019-09-17 02:21:56
@article{0364abd5-21dc-400d-b3ef-d230695314ff,
  abstract     = {Teachers are both controlling agents and controlled subjects, in any educational system. Educational research has approached this dual role from a variety of practical and theoretical angles, the most notable perhaps being the perspective of teacher autonomy as it is negotiated between, simply speaking, structure and agency. This essay urges to more critically illuminate the relationship between our conceptions of teacher agency on the one side, and student empowerment on the other. It discusses under what circumstances increased teacher agency may lead to more student empowerment, and generally to a more democratic understanding of schooling; and conversely, how strengthened teacher agency may be able to constrain student empowerment.<br/><br/>To illustrate the argument, the essay draws on observations from the author’s fieldwork at Chinese schools. Particular focus is put on the use of digital technologies, or information and communication technologies, for educational purposes (ICT4E). ICT4E have been associated with a range of benefits, among them their conduciveness for more diversified teaching and more interactive, student-centered learning, as well as for more student participation and strengthened teacher agency. The essay first presents what has been discussed to be the virtues of ICT4E. It moves on to question the naturalized relationship between teacher agency and student empowerment, to then scrutinize how ICT4E, teacher agency, and student empowerment play out in specific contexts. The essay concludes by arguing that we need not lose sight of our normative and political assumptions when discussing teacher agency.},
  author       = {Schulte, Barbara},
  issn         = {2571-7855},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {1--7},
  series       = {on_education. Journal for Research and Debate},
  title        = {Teacher agency and the digital: empowerment or control?},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/ws/files/69536444/teacher_agency_and_the_digital.pdf},
  year         = {2019},
}