Understanding agency in professional learning: Case studies of ESL teachers

Yin Mei May PANG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


The teacher’s self as a crucial element for ‘a more inclusive notion of professional development’ has gained greater attention in the teacher education literature. Teacher development involves not only ‘the nature of the knowledge of teaching’ (epistemology), but also ‘the nature of becoming and being a teacher (ontology) (Tickle, 2000:90). This paper attempts to seek a more coherent understanding of the notion of teacher’s professional self and its relationship with professional learning. Based on the findings of 4 case studies of ESL teachers in the context of primary English classroom in Hong Kong, dispositional and affective factors are drawn to inform the notion of agency in professional learning. The paper first presents a review of the relevant literature to set the theoretical contexts. It then proceeds to report on the findings of the 4 case studies to provide empirical pictures of the issue. Based on an internal-external model of dispositions developed by Ritchhart (2002), the paper ends with a proposed framework of agency in professional learning. Implications and recommendations for teacher education to cater for various teacher agencies in learning will also be made.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004


Pang, M. (2004, December). Understanding agency in professional learning: Case studies of ESL teachers. Paper presented at the International Language in Education Conference 2004: The Way Forward in Language Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


  • Teacher Education and Professional Development


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