Using Activity Systems Analysis to Identify Inner Contradictions in Teacher Professional Development

From Section:
Professional Development
Apr. 01, 2009

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 25, Issue 3, April 2009, P. 507-517

This study took place in the United States and explored teacher perspectives on the situational factors that influence their professional development. The study used Engeström's (1987) approach of four levels of inner contradictions in activity systems analysis. In this process, the authors addressed the question: what do teachers perceive as sources of conflicts in their professional development? Semi-structured interviews with participants were the primary data source in this study. By using this analysis method, the findings indicated that teachers perceived that their motivation and goals for participating in professional development were not in alignment with their school district and universities that designed and facilitated professional development activities. This misalignment contributed to various situational challenges that became obstacles for teachers to improve their classroom practices through curricular-based interventions.

Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit Oy.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Activity systems | Attitudes of teachers | Context effect | Professional development | Teacher professional development