Thesis submitted for the award of Doctor of Education
This thesis contributes an understanding of the nature of teacher agency in the contested (Baumfield, 2005) context of Secondary Religious Education (RE) with a specific focus on those undertaking their first year of teaching as Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs). This research has identified a gap in the current RE literature relating to the experiences of NQTs in the current educational climate and whilst the existing literature on teacher agency is more current, much of this comes from outside of an English context and fails to fully account for the experiences of those at the outset of their career. In seeking to answer the research question ‘what does teacher agency look like in the context of RE NQTs?’, this research made use of the ecological approach to teacher agency (Priestley, Biesta and Robinson, 2015) to explore the teacher agency of RE NQTs. The thesis also suggests that RE NQTs can be positioned as undertaking parrhesia (truth-telling) with regards the extent to which their classroom practice reflects their ethical machinery (Knighton, 2003).
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