It May Take Faith: An Investigation of Teacher Persistent Agency in the Crushing Contexts
AuthorMcDonald, Amy Lynn
teacher persistent agency
AdvisorWood, Marcy B.
Carter, Katherine J.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was an investigation of a collection of veteran secondary mathematics teachers’ storied experiences attempting to persist with agency through the most difficult contexts (crushing contexts) of their profession. Participants were recommended for the study by an administrator on account of their reputations as educators who consistently act in agentic ways focused on students. Ultimately, the objective of the project was to contribute new phenomenological understandings of teacher persistent agency to the field. Teacher persistent agency was broadly defined as human agency (as conceptualized by social cognitive theory) that is unrelenting and enduring (sustained over time and in a variety of contexts) and that explicitly attends to students. In other words, teachers with persistent agency were identified as having a regular practice of acting through any combination of personal, proxy, or collective efforts with a focus on students in any ways that involve intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness. This study was situated within the two intersecting and intimately related bodies of literature addressing teacher agency and teacher resilience (and by extension the literature on teacher retention). Prior to this study, considerable scholarship existed related to the nature and worth of teacher persistent agency within these bodies of literature, even in the midst of adversity. This study was designed to build on that scholarship and to partially attend to two gaps within it. More specifically, it was an extension of the work of Sonia Nieto (2003, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015), an answer to the calls of Jamie Huff Sisson (2016) and Albert Bandura (2016), and an attempt to utilize well-established narrative methods to specifically investigate largely unexplored contexts, identified as crushing contexts, particularly those that were event-based. Ultimately the argument was made that a new construct, teacher faith, a non-religious faith that parallels a Christian religious faith specifically comprised of five distinct components, may be useful in helping researchers make sense of teacher persistent agency, particularly in crushing contexts. In addition, a call was made for additional investigations using similar methods.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Teaching & Teacher Education
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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