01 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Amid the economic, managerial and societal challenges of the 21st century, many work organizations, such as those in education and health care, are increasingly expected to develop their work practices, operations and structures (e.g. Lindblad & Goodson, 2011; Tynjälä, 2013). As a consequence, professionals (employees and leaders) must continually develop their skills and competences, cross traditional professional boundaries and transform their professional identities and roles (Billett, 2011; Carroll & Levy, 2010; Helleve, 2010; Hökkä & Eteläpelto, 2014; Vähäsantanen & Eteläpelto, 2011). All this implies that meeting the current challenges of working life requires multifaceted work-related learning, including the cultivation of professional practices and identities. In both of these processes, professional agency - understood as influencing, making choices and taking stances concerning work practices and professional identities - emerges as salient (Billett, 2011; Eteläpelto, Vähäsantanen, Hökkä & Paloniemi, 2013; Priestley, Edwards & Priestley, 2012). Conversely, in order to generate work-related learning, we must enhance professional agency at the individual and collective levels.
Recent work-related interventions for supporting work-related learning have focused on either the individual or organizational level by addressing, for example, the structures and processes of organizations, leadership or employees’ individual learning at work. However, there are only few intervention programmes that support all of these critical aspects by taking into account professional agency, and such programmes are necessary in order for real changes to occur. Eager to rise to this challenge, we have developed a multilevel intervention programme to strengthen professional agency and further workplace learning through interventions at the individual, work community and organizational levels. The following mutually constructive interventions were designed for implementation in education and health care contexts: (i) an identity coaching programme, (ii) a leadership coaching programme and (iii) a dialogical work conference.
The identity coaching programme aimed to support subjects’ identity reshaping and their adaptation to new work roles by supporting participants’ professional agency at the individual level. Within small-group-based work, various activity-based and creative methods, such as drama methods and discussions, were utilised (see Kalliola & Mahlakaarto, 2011). The leadership coaching programme aimed to (i) support the development and cultivation of leaders’ identities and well-being by enhancing their individual and collective agency, (ii) offer tools for supporting personnel’s professional agency and identity work and (iii) offer tools for increasing the collaboration between actors at various levels of the organization. The small-group-based implementation of the programme included, for example, discussion, drawings and drama methods. Between the group workshops, the participants also constructed individual portfolios and carried out development projects in their work organizations. At the organizational level, we applied the dialogical work conference (Gustavsen & Engelstad, 1986). This intervention aimed to create a platform for learning and change at the community and organizational levels by enhancing collective professional agency (Kalliola & Mahlakaarto, 2011). Therefore, during the intervention, a shared space was created in which participants could discuss meaningful issues, create visions of future developmental work within the organization and identify concrete actions aimed at changing work practices and cultures. That is, the visions of and planned actions aimed at transforming the activity of the organization emerged from active participants, instead of coming from the administration of the organization.
In the presentation, in addition to describing three interventions, we portray the main outcomes of the interventions and the substantive suggestions for developing the interventions described by the participants.
Billett, S. (2011). Subjectivity, self and personal agency in learning through and for work. In M. Malloch, L. Cairns, K. Evans, & B. O’Connor (Eds.), The international handbook of workplace learning (pp. 60−72). London: Sage. Carroll, B. & Levy, L. (2010). Leadership development as identity construction. Management Communication Quarterly, 24(2), 211–231. Cohen, L., Manion, L. & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. 6th Edition. London: Routledge. Eteläpelto, A., Vähäsantanen, K., Hökkä, P. & Paloniemi, S. (2013). What is agency? Conceptualizing professional agency at work. Educational Research Review 10, 45–65. Gustavsen, B. & Engelstad, P. H. (1986). The design of conferences and the evolving role of democratic dialogue in changing working life. Human Relations, 39(2), 101−115. Helleve, I. (2010). Theoretical foundations of teachers’ professional development. In J. O. Lindberg & A. D. Olfsson (Eds.), Online learning communities and teacher professional development: Methods for improved education delivery (pp. 1−19). Hershey: IGI Global. Hökkä, P & Eteläpelto, A. (2014). Seeking new perspectives on the development of teacher education: A study of the Finnish context. Journal of Teacher Education, 65(1) 39–52 Kalliola, S. & Mahlakaarto, S. (2011). The methods of promoting professional agency at work. In H. Jian, L. Deen, M. Songge, & P. Simin (Eds.), Proceedings of International Conference on RWL. Shanghai: East China Normal University. Lindblad, S. & Goodson, I. (2011) (Eds.). Professional knowledge and educational restructuring in Europe. Rotterdam: Sense. Priestley, M., Edwards, R. & Priestley, A. (2012). Teacher agency in curriculum making: Agents of change and spaces for manoeuvre. Curriculum Inquiry, 42(2), 191–214. Tynjälä, P. (2013). Toward a 3-P model of workplace learning: A literature review. Vocations and Learning, 6(1), 11–36. Vähäsantanen, K. & Eteläpelto, A. (2011). Vocational teachers’ pathways in the course of a curriculum reform. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(3), 291–312.
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