Autonomy through teacher learning communities? The AFL goal of autonomy explored

Eleanore HARGREAVES, Pui Wan Pamela LEUNG, Rita Shuk Yin BERRY, David SCOTT, Yiu Chi LAI, Gordon STOBART

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The goal of Assessment for Learning (AfL) has been described as empowering pupils with a sense of autonomy in learning. In this paper, I make the assumption that teachers who themselves have a strong sense of autonomy are likely to promote this in their classrooms. My own definition of autonomy refers to the individual pupil or teacher recognising themselves as operating independently from the situation in which they work, assuming that they have a choice about how to behave in that setting, in particular, believing that they have the integrity and the power to initiate changes. In this paper, I draw on observation and interview data from two research projects evaluating Teacher Learning Communities which support Assessment for Learning, one in Hong Kong and one in England, UK. I explore how teachers in Teacher Learning Communities (TLCs) conceptualise pupil autonomy and examine how important this goal is to them. I describe how autonomous teachers in the two research projects claim to feel during the TLC process, and analyse what factors seem to limit their sense of autonomy. I conclude that teachers both in Hong Kong and in England have diverse views about the autonomy they want for their pupils which is often limited, and that teachers experience a curtailed sense of autonomy themselves in the Continuing Professional Development they experience during TLCs. I sketch some implications from these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Hargreaves, E., Leung, P. W. P., Berry, R., Scott, D., Lai, Y. C., & Stobart, G. (2010, December). Autonomy through teacher learning communities? The AFL goal of autonomy explored. Paper presented at the 2nd East Asian International Conference on Teacher Education Research: Teacher Education for the Future: International Perspectives, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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