Exploring teachers’ relational agency in content–language teacher collaboration in secondary science education in Australia

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    The mainstreaming of English-as-an-additional-language (EAL) education necessitates collaboration between EAL teachers and content teachers to support EAL students’ learning in content areas. A question left open is how EAL and content teachers exercise relational agency through professional dialogue and collaborative practices. The current paper examined this question through the concept of relational agency grounded in sociocultural theory. Data include group interviews with and self-recorded collaborative conversations between an EAL teacher and a science teacher in planning and delivering science content in an Australian secondary school. Findings reveal professional dialogue and collaborative practices created mediational spaces for them to exercise relational agency. They actively worked together on a complex problem and shared motive, built and utilised common knowledge, and drew on relational expertise in responding to the demands of enhancing EAL students’ learning of language and content in the science classroom. Findings have implications for promoting teacher agency and quality collaboration.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-18
    Number of pages18
    JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


    • English-as-an-additional-language
    • Relational agency
    • Science education
    • Sociocultural theory
    • Teacher collaboration

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