Finding the Openings Amid the Closings: one school's approach to taking ownership of teaching and learning

FORUM - ISSN 0963-8253
Volume 56 Number 2 (2014)

Finding the Openings Amid the Closings: one school's approach to taking ownership of teaching and learning
FIONA KING, ÚNA FEELEY, pages 249-264
DOI: 10.2304/forum.2014.56.2.249

Abstract

Education is in challenging times, largely due to economic cutbacks on the one hand and growing demands on teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student population on the other. Given these constraints, teachers' desire and self-confidence to initiate and use their own imaginations to meet the diverse needs of their students is diminished. This article focuses on an approach that demonstrates how teachers in one school took ownership of their teaching and learning within these constraints, resulting in a more sustainable approach to teaching and learning for all students. The article draws on findings from a qualitative study in a large urban school in the Republic of Ireland in order to demonstrate how teacher agency can be fostered and developed over time. The analysis shows that teachers are ultimately concerned with what will work for their students in their classrooms, and consequently they will sustain practices that meet the needs of their students. This article argues that teachers are willing to use innovative and imaginative approaches to sustainability, and open to the idea, when empowered and facilitated to do so. Arguably affording teachers autonomy to be more innovative and creative leads to teachers taking ownership of their own teaching and learning, which can lead to more sustainable outcomes. The authors conclude that despite a global economic recession and increasing demands on teachers, there are openings within the closings where teachers can take ownership of their teaching and learning, which arguably results in more imaginative and innovative practices for sustainable futures.

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To cite this article
FIONA KING, ÚNA FEELEY (2014) Finding the Openings Amid the Closings: one school's approach to taking ownership of teaching and learning, FORUM, 56(2), 249-264. https://doi.org/10.2304/forum.2014.56.2.249

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