Critical Considerations in Becoming Literacy Educators: Pre-service Teachers Rehearsing Agency and Negotiating Risk

Oct. 01, 2015

Source: Teaching Education, Volume 26, Issue 4, 2015, Pages 383-399

This paper looks closely at the talk of two pre-service teachers over time to examine how they used language as a way of rehearsing their evolving agency as literacy educators.

Drawing on critical sociocultural theory, the author uses Agency Tracing to highlight how pre-service teachers’ agentic actions are not isolated phenomena but ones developed and planned with others in language. Through rehearsals, they considered possible options and outcomes of actions before taking risks, therefore bolstering their confidence to act and resist individual and institutional Discourses of literacy.

Analysis reveals that because pre-service teachers rehearse agency over time via language, such agency can be developed in teacher education coursework and field experiences. Findings indicate four recommendations to foster agency: rehearsals over time, dissonance to the point of frustration, observations and approximations in field experiences, and interactional spaces for critical reflection.

Updated: Jan. 02, 2017