Making SENse of Teacher Agency with Social and
Epistemic Network Analysis
Making Sense project for short, focused on teachers’
working with others (e.g. colleagues, families and specialists)
as an essential aspect of their agency for change. The aim was
to understand both substantive and structural properties of
teachers’ purposeful interactions as they sought to support
students and build inclusive learning environments.
Supported by the Scottish Graduate School of Social
Sciences (SGSSS) the project explored the potential for
combining Social and Epistemic Network Analysis, a
technique developed in data sciences applied to real school settings,
using data from two schools in Sweden
Teachers as Agents of Change projects page
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Making Sense team gathered researchers across disciplines and universities as well as partners from schools, including:
- Dr Nataša Pantić, University of Edinburgh, project lead, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Dr Sarah Galey, School of Education, University of Edinburgh
- Professor Lani Florian, Bell Chair in Education, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Gil Viry, Sociology Department, University of Edinburgh
- Dr Srećko Joksimović, Data scientist, University of South Australia
- Professor Dragan Gašević, Chair in Learning Analytics, Monash University
- Dr Helén Knutes Nyqvist, Stockholm University
- Dr Krystallia Kyritsi, Lund International School
Teacher agency for inclusion and the development of professional communities:
A social and epistemic analysis study in schools of Santiago de Chile is a
research project conducted by Dr. Constanza Herrera Seda
and Dr. Jaime Retamal Salazar at Universidad de Santiago de Chile,
Lic. Constanza Cárdenas Alarcón and Dr. Hugo Torres at Universidad de Chile, Dr. José Fuentes Sepúlveda at
Universidad de Concepción, and Dr. Natasa Pantic at University of Edinburgh.
The collaboration of teachers with other actors in the community (e.g., colleagues, families or other professionals),
has been identified as an essential aspect of becoming agents of educational change. In this sense, the development of
communities of practice, characterized by shared purposes and mutual support networks, allows teachers to collaborate
in order to foster the participation and learning of all students especially from the most excluded groups.
International research has gathered various backgrounds about the importance of teacher collaboration to advance
towards inclusive education. However, there is still not enough scientific evidence to understand how teachers
build these communities of practice and how, based on their constitution, the teaching agency is developed.
The research project aims to understand the development of the teaching agency for inclusion based on the analysis
of social and epistemic networks of professional communities in six Chilean schools in Santiago city. This research
considers the context of Chilean education policy and the conditions in which Chilean teachers work.
The schools are diverse among themselves, in their financing, socio-economic context and internal organization.
The research has two stages, the first of which will use the TRAC and the second of
which will be based upon group interviews.
Making SENse of Teachers' Communities of Practice with Social and Epistemic Network Analysis
is a PhD project conducted by Barbara Dzieciatko at the University of Edinburgh,
funded by the ESRC (Interdisciplinary steer), supervised by Dr Nataša Pantić (lead, Education),
Professor Dragan Gašević (Informatics) and Dr Gil Viry (Sociology).
The project uses Social and Epistemic Networks (SEN) to understand change mechanisms
in social practices by analysing teachers’ Communities of Practice (CoPs) as
social networks that shape and are shaped by their sense-making processes.
Communities of Practice – a form of collaboration characterised by shared
purposes and mutual support – can make a difference in teachers’ practices
and students’ learning. But how do teachers build such communities in the first place?
Making Visible Teachers’ Impact as Agents of Change for Inclusion
is a knowledge exchange project between practitioners and researchers, funded by the
ESRC Impact Acceleration Award to showcase the difference teachers can make by
developing inclusive school cultures and trustful relationships with students and
their families. An on-line version of the log was co-produced with staff
from a partner primary school in Cambridge, UK. The project also developed
complementary professional development material to facilitate teachers' reflection on
enhancing inclusive practice.
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Pilot Study of Teachers as Agents involved the development of the initial (paper) version
of the log agency with a group of 12 Advisory board members including school teachers, local
authorities, members of General Teaching Council Scotland, teacher educators and
researchers. The collaborative methodology employed in the study is described in:
Pantić, N. (2017).
Reconciling Rigour and Impact by Collaborative Research Design: Study of Teacher Agency.
Opens a new windowInternational Journal of Research & Method in Education, 40(4), 329-344.