Thursday, 19 December 2019

Teacher Agency end of year wrap-up

As we wrap up another year, the Auckland Central Community of Schools Teacher Agency website has just been updated with our end of year overview. After 2 years of leading the Teacher Agency initiative for the #ACCoS1 Kahui Ako, I am pleased to see the progress we have made building a shared language and shared understanding of this nebulous concept across a number of different schools. If you have not had a look at our interactive matrix or our teacher inquiry database I invite you to take a peek. Link to our site is below.
Many thanks to all the schools who have been part of this initiative and so willingly opened their minds to the work we have undertaken in this initiative.
* Remuera Intermediate School
* Remuera Primary School
* Victoria Avenue School
* Kohia Terrace School
* Meadowbank School
* Epsom Girls Grammar School


Goals for 2019 were tailored to suit the strategic direction of each school, in collaboration with senior leadership teams. 

Remuera Intermediate School
Increase teacher agency via appraisal/inquiry work with PALs
Build collaborative practice as a cultural norm
Broaden collaborative network using Teacher Agency website database tool

Kohia Terrace School
To continue the culture of Teacher Agency so that it becomes ingrained in school culture so that every child benefits from teacher’s steady professional development

Meadowbank School
To clearly link team collaborative inquiries with the Teacher Agency Matrix
To use teacher agency to implement the Meadowbank Language of Learning thereby increasing learner agency

Remuera Primary School
Our Goal was to promote understanding of Teacher Agency as a concept with our PLG group and begin to interact with the Teacher Agency Matrix

Epsom Girls Grammar School
ISLs to gain an understanding of Teacher Agency and to use this to develop their Leadership Goals in relation to working with the members of their PLGs



Start with the why


Finding the words for your why

Hattie & Donohoo: 

Collective Teacher Efficacy

Goddard et. al: 

Collective teacher Efficacy

Learning Forward: 

Moving from compliance to Agency


The power of Teacher Agency 

Riveros et. al. 

A situated account of Teacher Agency and Learning

Priestley et. al: 

Teacher Agency: What is it and why does it matter


Leading inquiry at a teacher level


Collaborative Teaching


Teacher Beliefs: 
No change in mean score or quartile scores over the course of the year. One outlier value in T4 introduces long tail.

Capacity to Act: 
Slight increase in mean score, 1 whole value increase in upper quartile from 6 to 7 (proficiently to highly agentic)

Professional Learning: 
Slight increase in mean score, 1 whole value increase in tail, 1 whole value increase in upper quartile from 6 to 7 (proficiently to highly agentic)

Slight increase in mean values. 

Reflective Practice: 
Slight increase in mean score, 1 whole value increase in upper quartile from 6 to 7 (proficiently to highly agentic)

Wellbeing and Resilience: 
Half-value increase in mean score, 1 whole value increase in lower quartile from 4 to 5 (developing to proficiently agentic), 1 whole value increase in upper quartile from 6 to 7 (proficiently to highly agentic). Highest increasing element overall.

Additionally, qualitative data was collected (teacher voice) and excerpts from this are recorded below.

What did our Teachers have to say?

Teacher agency has shown me how I can keep improving and adapting the way I teacher with the support of other teachers.

Using the matrix has raised many questions and resulted in robust discussion at the school.  We are using it to discuss what teacher agency means at our school.
It's more in the front of my thinking now where as previously I've focused only on the student having agency

My understanding has developed more through using the matrix to self assess.

I gain a greater understanding each time I re-assess myself

I have enjoyed making connections with others to develop my professional practice. I have been able to use my agency to come up with goals that I want to work on.

At first I thought I was agentic but realised that this was not the case at all times at work.

I have appreciated being given the opportunity to contribute ideas/options/test out my theories/enhance my practice.

I have seen the children stop and think when I coach them rather than just listen to something I might be saying.

I have become increasingly aware of my own practice (using the matrix) and am trying to implement and embed strategies to increase my agency

I am now reflecting more on what I need to work on, and areas I usually avoid. I have a better understanding of what it means to be agentic.

At the start of this year, I had never even heard the words "teacher agency" before and had no idea about what it was or how to be an agentic teacher. I have come to understand that teacher agency is about being in charge of your own professional learning and actively seeking opportunities to reflect and make  positive changes to practice. Over the year I have also come to understand that being an agentic teacher can involve taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone. I have learnt that I won't ever get to a place in my career where I will say to myself "I am consistently and highly agentic, there's nothing more I can do." Reflection and being agentic is an on-going learning process throughout our whole careers that we need to think about and be aware of. 

Haven't scored as highly this time as my understanding has grown and I realise that some things are a bit more complex than I first believed.

As my understanding of Teacher Agency has grown I believe I have been able to develop further as a practitioner.

My understanding of teacher agency has remained the same throughout the year.

Last year we regularly talked about agentic practice. This year although we've focused on inquiries we haven't actively discussed and built teacher agency. It would have been useful to keep up the mini sessions in staff meetings to raise awareness - especially for new staff (RI)

There are aspects that have changed over the year such as collaboration and wellbeing. This has been helped by a network of people who are also interested in the topics.

My understanding around the concept and elements of Teacher Agency have remained the same. The change has been the way that I have used the elements in my practice. I have really pushed the well being and collaboration element in my practice.

After considering the meaning of this concept, I have come to realise that this is of huge importance to me being a happy and successful practitioner. Being free to make decisions in the best interests of my students (and indeed myself) invigorates my classroom behaviour and attention to what is happening for the students. I am always overly reflective, but tend to struggle with self care and as I am generally quite critical of my own practice, struggle with seeking constructive criticism.

As an individual in charge of a subject area I have found my understanding of being agentic has been useful in terms of taking action to solve my own problems or working to find solutions that will help systems and processes within the cluster of schools. 

I see teacher agency becoming increasingly important to focus on as education is continually changing and this requires teachers who can adapt and be agentic.

I feel I am growing in my ability to identify areas for growth, seek advice and implement change with greater confidence than ever before. Seeking guidance and support from other teachers in regards to what is working for them in their practice has been incredibly supportive of my own growth and development

As the year has progressed my understanding of what makes a truly agentic teacher has evolved. As I have put some of the ideas from our PLG into practice as a teacher, a learner and as a leader of a team it has reminded me of what is effective about my teaching practice and my strengths (this has been validating) It has given me direction and sparked my interest in areas of my teaching where I could learn from others and progress professionally. Thank you!!

Alaric Nicholls, 

Across Schools Leader

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