Teacher agency and futures thinking

POISED-researcher Jan Varpanen was the lead author in a recently published paper by the name Teacher Agency and Futures Thinking. The paper details the opportunities offered for research on teachers’ agency by concepts drawn from the field of futures studies. The open access article can be found here.

The paper is an example of collaboration between POISED and other Finnish universities. Of the other authors in the paper, Antti Laherto and Jaakko Hilppö work at the University of Helsinki University while Tuulikki Ukkonen-Mikkola works at the University of Jyväskylä. The paper was drawn up in the Finnish research and development project ”Innoplay” (2018-2022), funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The project centered around developing the conceptual and practical tools early childhood education and primary school teachers need for engaging with technology as a novel aspect of the national curriculum.

The focus of the paper itself, however, is broader in that the paper contributes to recent debates as to how teachers make a difference in confronting educational reforms. A novel approach is introduced to this discussion with the help of concepts drawn from the field of futures studies. With the help of short future essays written by the teachers who took part in the Innoplay-project, the authors illustrate how work explicitly engaging with the teachers’ images of the future opens up opportunities for reflection regarding the societal role of education and the teacher profession.