Viewing Teacher Transformation through the Lens of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT)

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pedagogy, teacher change, professional development, activity theory

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Technology-Enhanced Formative Assessment (TEFA) is an innovative pedagogy for science and mathematics instruction. The ‘Teacher Learning of TEFA’ research project studies teacher change as in-service secondary science and mathematics teachers learn TEFA in the context of a multi-year professional development programme. Applying cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) to the linked activity systems of professional development and teachers’ classroom practice leads to a model of teacher learning and pedagogical change in which TEFA is first introduced into classrooms as an object of activity, and then made useful as a tool for instruction, and then—in rare cases—incorporated into all elements of a deeply transformed practice. Different levels of contradiction within and between activity systems drive the transitions between stages. A CHAT analysis suggests that the primary contradiction within secondary education is a dual view of students as objects of instruction and of students as willful individuals; the difficulties arising from this can either inhibit or motivate TEFA adoption.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

Education as Change, v. 16, issue 2, p. 283-300