The 'paper' will be created in a non-linear way, that is, I will try to tell my view on the way we designed the curriculum for teacher education at the university of Amsterdam and esspecially how we tried to (re)create meaningfull, but in some case accidental, learning experiences for students. This story therefore will be a hypertext: a collection of related issues that I found meaningful for the narrative. I have set up one 'path', as it is called in Scalar, that captures best my line of reasoning. However, any reader could diverse from that path and find his or her own storyline.
Some pages only have a very short introduction, others only the rough data or some quotes. The core of the narrative at this moment is the case of Rob and the theoretical reflection on it. See the timeline for an overview of the events.]
In this paper I’d like to discuss the case of Rob, an in service student teacher Human & Technology at university of applied sciences Amsterdam. As a teacher educator and researcher from the cultural historical tradition I am interested in how I can design, in a team, a developmental teacher education curriculum that is both open and structured; courses with content in students’ zone of proximal development and meaningful for their (future) practice . This case will be presented as a narrative addressing the main question: how can we design developmental teacher education, create meaningful experiences for students and develop educational understanding that might help students like Rob to become agential teachers?
Agency seems to be a 'hot topic' at the moment, especially within teacher education and teacher professionalisation, as it sometimes is considered to be the key in developing education and curriculum from the ground up (c.f. Evers & Kneyber, 2015). Subsequently, there are many definitions of agency (reference).
The English concept of agency denotes the fact that human beings are inherently imbued with the power to act, which allows them, in contrast to other animals, to transform the conditions in and under which they live (Holzkamp 1983b). It includes the capacity of human beings to participate in creating their lived-in worlds rather than merely being determined by them. The power to act is simultaneously enabled and constrained by the structures of social/material fields of human action and by the capacity to appropriate both human and material resources available in the fields (Scantlebury, Gallo-Fox, and Wassell 2008). Agency can also be understood as a breaking away from a given frame of action and as taking initiatives to transform it (Engeström 2005). Teachers cannot therefore just ‘give’ agency to students; students will often achieve authority through a more extended process when they participate in gradually transforming old norms into new ones (Engle and Faux 2006; Lipponen and Kumpulainen 2011). One can understand agency and everything that springs forth from it only by acknowledging both the enabling and constraining aspects of the social/material fields of the lived-in world. (Kadri & Roth, 2014, p.42)
Engeströms description of agency, as cited above by Kadri and Roth, is most relevant for this narrative, since Rob was already breaking away from his former frame of action (engineering) and transforming it into one of being a teacher. Whilst doing that he faced constraining factors at his school. Therefore in this case I like to focus on the enabling factors within the programme of the university of Amsterdam's teacher education that helped Rob becoming an agential teacher.