Researching teacher agency from Vygotsky’s developmental perspective

Ngo Cong-Lem, PhD Student, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, Email:

Teacher agency refers to the extent to which teachers intentionally influence and make changes to their environment in a self-regulated manner under contextual constraints. Although teacher agency has gained traction in recent years, previous findings tend to view it as a static phenomenon, primarily describing forms of agency enactment or achievement. The fact that teacher agency is increasingly recognised as a developmental construct renders such examination of teacher agency problematic for failing to reveal its course of development. To address this methodological gap, this paper proposes a developmental-introspective approach to studying teacher agency based on three principles delineated by Vygotsky in his chapter “Problems of Method” (Vygotsky, 1978). Practical application and implications for research on teacher agency are discussed, drawing on the author’s experience in carrying out his doctoral research project which examines teacher agency in Vietnamese tertiary setting.

teacher agency, developmental perspective, method, Vygotsky, higher education

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