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Zoe Martínez-de-la-Hidalga and Lourdes Villardón-Gallego
Many studies and publications have been devoted to the analysis and development of teacher identity from different points of view, using diverse instruments and methodologies and analyzing different dimensions of identity. Despite the scrutiny, it is still a challenge to understand and define an issue as complex as professional identity.
Although there is no clear unanimity on the concept of identity itself, several characteristics have been identified from different approaches. Thus, aspects such as personal unity, stability over time, and across situations and contexts contrast with such features as multiplicity, discontinuity, and a social nature. Faced with this dichotomy, the dialogic perspective explains the complexity of the construct by proposing that the aforementioned features are linked respectively and dialectically. In other words, the various dimensions of identity, along with their variability through time and the influence exerted by social and contextual aspects, are combined with personal unity, with stability over time, and across situations and contexts. This can, occasionally, lead to conflict and contradictions that the individual strives to manage through self-dialogue.
Focusing in the dialogic conceptualization, several implications for research are identified. Firstly, it disallows static categorizations of teachers and places the focus on grasping the self-dialogue that allows teachers to maintain a certain degree of stability and coherence in their identity over time. Secondly, it showcases the effect that dialogue and participation-focused research can have on professional development. Additionally, the study of identity in all its complexity and mutability advocates the integrated study of two levels of analysis: On the one hand, there is the position and actions of teachers in different contexts and situations; and, on the other, there is their professional story, past, present and future, along with the sociocultural factors that have impacted it.
According to this dialogic approach, both the research on the professional identity and the teacher training should incorporate strategies that promote dialogue on actual performance and on professional careers. To this effect, longitudinal designs help capture the dialogue between stability and change. Still, transversal studies can be undeniably useful to identify current conflicts that might arise between personal and professional roles, as well as how such conflicts are managed. Furthermore, qualitative methodologies have a great potential to generate self-dialogues that provide insight into how teachers live, perceive, and manage such conflicts. Finally, research should be participative in nature so that teachers abandon their role as objects of research and become, instead, its subjects, in collaboration with researchers. In this manner, research on identity leads to changes in the professional identity of participants, in addition to furthering the knowledge available on the subject. Action research follows these guidelines, and it is therefore especially suited to this endeavor.
Based on this characterization of the research on professional identity, some techniques are suggested for the collection of information because they foster reflection and consequently also promote development of identity. Some of these techniques are: life stories, narrative of teaching, diaries, case studies, critical events analysis, professional dilemmas, teacher or teaching metaphors, and inquiry-based learning.
The concept of teacher leadership emerged in the United States in the 1980s but increasingly it has featured in the contemporary international discourse about professionalization and modernization. It is best understood against the backdrop of the emergence in the literature of an awareness of the importance of the distinction between educational leadership and school management. A key dimension of that discussion is the concept of transformational leadership, which emphasizes that the goal of leadership is change rather than the maintenance of the status quo. Linked to this is the view that improved outcomes can only be secured when organizational conditions are modified to enable practitioners to develop as individuals and in relation to one another. The idea of distributed leadership is integral to this perspective, which leads to a focus on teachers as potential agents of change. However, interpretations of the concept of teacher leadership are shaped by the realities of hierarchical organizational structures and the way policies related to curriculum and assessment lead to patterns of accountability. Middle managers inevitably focus on management at the expense of leadership. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most common distinction drawn in the literature on teacher leadership is between formal and informal, a distinction which reflects the emphasis on designated roles of responsibility within organizations rather than the actual practice of leadership. An alternative conceptualization is that of non-positional teacher leadership, which hinges on the teacher’s professionality and the possibility that leadership could be part of any teacher’s construction of their professional identity. There is a body of evidence emerging that indicates the possibility that any education practitioner can be enabled to develop their human agency and moral purpose and so become an effective agent of change.
Michael Chia and Koh Koon Teck
The Second World-Wide Survey of Physical Education in schools, published under the auspices of the International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education, identifies large gaps between the promise of positive outcomes of physical education and actual outcomes. The mismatch between the policy and practice of physical education stems from deep-seated disagreements about what the goals of physical education should be; the multifaceted nature of the subject; and a lack of competence, confidence, and accountability among the teachers who are responsible for teaching physical education in schools, among other things. According to the World Health Organization, the physical and holistic health of young people and adults is threatened by increases in obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers—in part due to increased sedentary modern lifestyles and insufficient exercise. Physical education has the potential to ameliorate the negative impact of sedentary lifestyles and exercise insufficiency. Teacher-education programs for physical education the world over advertise that teachers of the subject help young people acquire a love for physical activity and the skills to practice and enjoy sports; they also teach life skills, including teamwork, sportsmanship, problem-solving, and creativity, and help students develop the habits of a healthy lifestyle. How programs prepare physical-education teachers to deliver on these promises varies considerably. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Singapore has one of the best-performing teacher-education systems in the world. It is run by the National Institute of Education in Singapore. The tight coupling of theory and practice and the tripartite relationship between the policymakers at the Ministry of Education; the National Institute of Education, where teacher training occurs; and the schools, where physical education is experienced, are the key determinants of a quality physical-education experience among children and adolescents in Singapore.
Ismail Hussein Amzat
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Trust is the backbone of human beings’ relationships and interconnectedness within themselves. Trust plays a large role in human social interactions, business transactions, and an organization’s succession plan. As long as effective leadership is measured by organizational outcomes, leaders need to work to influence the people in organizations to achieve desired goals. For leaders to be trusted in an organization, they need to have integrity, truthfulness, and transparency. If organization members are to be influenced, persuaded, and motivated to perform at their best, leadership, trust, and relationships need to coexist between organizational leaders and followers.
School settings are also organizational settings, and school principals should also prioritize gaining the trust of their teachers. Due to rapid changes globally and increased complexities within schools, principals must forge relationships with teachers and cultivate a climate of trust with school communities. Leader-Member-Exchange theory (LMX), developed by Fred Dansereau, George Graen, and William J. Haga, emphasizes the importance of trust and mutual respect between leaders and followers. This notion was also supported by the Social Exchange theory. In pursuit of student achievement, school principals seek reciprocal exchanges that can lead to trust among teachers. Because the teacher is ranked as the first factor that influences learning and predicts student achievement, school principals should work closely with teachers by gaining their trust, and build trusting school environments that pave ways for learning enhancements and school development.
Sylvia Chong and Saravanan Gopinathan
Establishing and maintaining teacher quality in Singapore is a process-oriented strategy that requires good policies at the macro level and effective processes at the implementation level. High teacher quality requires rigorous entry requirements, effective evidence-based preparation, and continuous professional development and support at the school level for teacher professionalism. Further adequate compensation and incentives to upskill or reskill are essential. These policies and practices are especially important in this era of challenging pedagogic reform, evolving views of learning and new roles for teachers as learning designers. Teacher policies and practices contribute to the high standing of teachers in Singapore and the consistent high performance of Singapore students in international assessments.
Lisa Kervin and Barbara Comber
Teacher research is well established internationally. Teacher research serves an important role for teacher education, both as the object of academic study and as a practice within programs and the profession. Teacher research has the potential to build teacher knowledge for practice, in practice, and of practice. An understanding of the role of research in these different types of knowledge, enables a demonstration of both the richness of and potential for the education field. Research has an important role in both preservice and in-service education and the potential to bring about change personally, professionally, and politically.
Doris A. Santoro
Teachers often characterize their interest in and commitment to the profession as moral: a desire to support students, serve their communities, or uphold civic ideals embedded in the promise of public education. These initial and sustaining moral impulses are well documented in research on teaching and teacher education. However, moral commitments can also be a source of teachers’ dissatisfaction and resistance, especially in the age of the market-based Global Education Reform Movement. This article explores the phenomenon of conscientious objection in teaching as an enactment of professional ethics. Conscientious objection describes teachers’ actions when they take a stand against job expectations that contradict or compromise their professional ethics. Teachers who refuse to enact policies and practices may be represented by popular media, school leaders, policymakers, and educational researchers as merely recalcitrant or insubordinate. This perspective misses the moral dimensions of resistance. Teachers may refuse to engage in practices or follow mandates from the standpoint of professional conscience. This article also highlights varieties of conscientious objection that are drawn from global examples of teacher resistance. Finally, the article explores the role of teachers unions as potential catalysts for collective forms of conscientious objection.
Margaret L. Niess
The 21st-century explosion and decisive impact of digital media on education has highlighted the need for rethinking the required teacher knowledge for guiding students in taking advantage of improved technological affordances. The reformed teacher knowledge, called technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK or TPACK), is knowledge reflecting a dynamic equilibrium for the interaction of technology, pedagogy, and content. The intersection of these three knowledge domains reveals four additional subsets: technological pedagogical knowledge, technological content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and technological pedagogical content knowledge. The summation of these domains resides within the intellectual, social, and cultural contexts of education, to reveal the knowledge known as TPCK/TPACK. Teacher educators, researchers, and scholars have been and continue to be challenged with identifying appropriate experiences and programs for assessing and developing this teacher knowledge for integrating digital technologies as learning tools in reformed educational environments. Two questions guide this review of the literature surrounding the active, international scholarship and research toward understanding the nature of TPCK/TPACK and guiding the development of teachers’ TPCK/TPACK. The response to the first question describes the nature of this teacher knowledge for the digital age and how it differs from prior descriptions of teachers’ knowledge. The response to the second question explores the research and scholarship unveiling how this knowledge is developed and assessed at the pre-service and in-service teacher levels. From this scholarly work, three distinct views on the nature of TPCK/TPACK are proposed to explain various approaches in how this teacher knowledge is both developed and assessed in pre-service and in-service preparation programs. The integrated, heterogeneous vision recognizes the distinctness of the multiple subsets in the model and calls for specific preparation in each of the domains as key to developing the teacher knowledge for the digital age. The transformative, homogeneous vision considers the knowledge as a whole, composed through the integration of the multiple subset. Through the educational processes, the multiple subsets are rearranged, merged, organized, integrated and assimilated in such a way that none are any longer individually discernible. The third vision, called the distinctive vision, acknowledges the critical nature of the primary domains of pedagogy, content and technology and proposes the value of preparing teachers in each of these distinct domains. Supporting teachers for gaining the TPCK/TPACK-based knowledge, the preparation must respond to changes in content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and technological knowledge. These cumulative scholarly efforts provide a launchpad for future research focused on developing teachers’ knowledge for teaching in the digital age.
Etta Hollins, Jamine Pozú Franco, and Liliana Muñoz Guevara
The central purpose for teaching is advancing the quality of life on planet earth through the organized transmission of intergenerational collective and cumulative knowledge combined with further developing the academic and intellectual capacity of the present generation for building upon and extending existing knowledge, as well as developing new knowledge. Teaching supports the development of the whole person academically, intellectually, physically, psychologically, and socially. This includes developing the ability to take care of one’s self and to support the needs of family and community.
Competence for classroom teaching requires consistently demonstrating adequate subject matter knowledge, professional knowledge, and knowledge of learners for facilitating the growth and development of learners from diverse cultural and experiential backgrounds, and learners with special needs. Knowledge of learners includes familiarity with the home and community cultures, the resources available in the local community, prior knowledge from within and outside school, the research and theory about child and adolescent growth and development, and the aspirations and challenges embraced by both students and their communities.
Teacher preparation programs purposefully designed to support transforming urban schools and communities contextualize professional knowledge and practice for teaching students from cultural and ethnic groups that have been traditionally underserved, isolated, oppressed, who live in poverty or urban areas, or who have experienced cultural and linguistic imperialism. Purposeful teacher preparation provides candidates with a well-designed, interrelated, and developmentally sequenced progression of professional knowledge and learning experiences that foster the development of deep knowledge for learner growth and development.
Examples of purposefully designed teacher preparation programs ensure that candidates have deep knowledge of their personal cultural heritage and language. In the teacher preparation program, candidates learn to make connections between the school curriculum and the cultural traditions, values, practices, and ancestral knowledge from their personal cultural heritage. Candidates learn to apply their understanding of these connections in developing pedagogy and learning experiences for students with whom they share a personal cultural heritage and ancestral knowledge. Through this process candidates learn principles of teaching practice that can be transferred to teaching students with a different cultural heritage and ancestral knowledge. Learning to apply specific principles of practice across cultural groups is developed through shared experiences with peers in the teacher preparation program from different cultural groups and through engaging in guided teaching experiences with students from different cultural groups. Important goals embedded within this approach to teacher training are preserving and restoring the cultural heritage of students and improving the quality of life in the local community and the nation.
Teacher unions (or alternatively “education unions”) are organizations formed to protect and advance the collective interests of teachers and other education workers. What the collective interests of educators entail and how they should be pursued have been and remain active matters for debate within these organizations. Different unions at different times have responded differently to these questions, for example, in relation to the degree to which an industrial versus a professional orientation should be adopted, and the degree to which a wider political and social justice agenda should be embraced.
Several ideal-type models of teacher unionism have been identified, as well as various strategic options that these unions might employ. A spirited debate is ongoing about the legitimacy and power of teacher unions. One perspective portrays them as self-interested special interest groups, and another as social movements advocating for public education. The status of teacher unions as stakeholders in educational policymaking is contested, and union–government relations occur across a spectrum of arrangements ranging from those that encourage negotiation to those characterized by confrontation and hostility.
Internationally, education unions face significant challenges in the early decades of the 21st century. Neoliberal economic and industrial policies and legislation have eroded the capacity of unions to collectively organize and bargain, and the global education reform movement (GERM) has created a hostile environment for education unions and their members. Despite these challenges, education unions remain among the most important critics of GERM and of global neoliberal social policy generally. The challenges posed and the strategies adopted play out differently across the globe. There is evidence that at least some unions are now prepared to be far more flexible in adopting a “tapestry” of strategies, to examine their internal organization, build alliances, and develop alternative conceptions of the future of education. Researchers, however, have identified certain internal factors in many teacher unions that pose significant obstacles to these tasks. Unions face difficult choices that could lead to marginalization on the one hand or incorporation on the other.
Activities that actively and deliberately support museum visitors’ engagement with art and promote learning occupy a distinct, though contested, place in the history and current framing of the art museum across the globe. Despite its many benefits, educational work in art museums has grown erratically, frequently without formal structures, systems, or strategies, and it has been critiqued in the past for lacking a robust theoretical framework and consistent methodological principles. It remains the case that the field is broad, diverse, and continually evolving; in the early 21st century, the boundaries are shifting, for example, between what constitutes curatorial practice and learning practice in contemporary art museums. This fluidity and heterogeneity has enabled the emergence of creative and responsive practice that encourages visitors to learn with, through, and about art, but it poses challenges when the goal is to present a coherent overview. Therefore any summary of this complex domain will necessarily be selective. Nonetheless, taking the practice as it has been developed in the United Kingdom and the United States, where this work has been theorized and communicated to the greatest extent (and with reference to the practice in Europe, Canada, and Australia), it is possible to identify common historical developments, shared philosophical and pedagogical principles, and collective challenges and opportunities that contribute to a comprehensible picture, albeit one that is replete with contradictions. As a field, art-museum education continues to define itself. And although valuable research and theorization have been undertaken, in part by practitioners drawing on their own experiences, further work is required, not least to broaden the understanding of the practice as it is manifest globally and to make explicit the increasingly important role of art education within the art museum.
Teaching self-efficacy refers to the beliefs that teachers hold about their instructional capabilities. According to Bandura’s social cognitive theory, individuals develop a sense of efficacy by attending to four sources of information: mastery experiences (i.e., performance attainments), vicarious experiences (i.e., observing social models), social persuasions (i.e., messages received from others) and physiological and affective states (e.g., stress, fatigue, mood). Personal and contextual factors also play a role in the development of teaching self-efficacy. Understandings of teaching self-efficacy, its sources and its effects, have been limited by poor conceptualizations and methodological shortcomings. Nonetheless, researchers have provided ample evidence that teachers with a high sense of efficacy tend to be more psychologically healthy and effective than teachers who doubt their capabilities.
Surendran Sankaran and Norazlinda Saad
This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Please check back later for the full article.
Technology proficiency is the ability to use technology to communicate effectively and professionally, organize information, produce high-quality products, and enhance thinking skill. In classroom settings, technology proficiency refers to the ability of teachers to integrate technology to teach, facilitate, and improve learning, productivity, and performance. These abilities are needed to participate in a technological world. Technology proficiency will guide teachers to encounter and explore a wide variety of technological devices in order to have the possibility to know and choose those that best respond to teaching content and pedagogical aims. Basic proficiency in information technologies among teachers is typically used to communicate electronically, organize activities and information, and create documents in schools or higher education institutions.
Proficiency in using technological devices can be achieved through experience and instruction. It is a necessary condition to introduce, experiment with, and maintain an accessible technological tool for teaching practices. Technology proficiency in fact seems relevant for many aspects of the teaching profession, such as lesson preparation. Other aspects that impact teacher decisions to introduce technology into classroom activities are beliefs about the way the subject should be taught and skills associated with competence in managing classroom activities. Teachers must be able to apply the technology knowledge and skills required in their professional job role and responsibilities in order to achieve the expected outputs.
Artists who teach or teachers who make art? To explore the identity of the artist-teacher in contemporary educational contexts, the ethical differences between the two fields of art and learning need to be considered. Equity is sought between the needs of the learner and the demands of an artist’s practice; a tension exists here because the nurture of the learner and the challenge of art can be in conflict. The dual role of artist and of teacher have to be continually navigated in order to maintain the composite and ever-changing identity of the artist-teacher. The answer to the question of how to teach art comes through investigating attitudes to knowledge in terms of the hermeneutical discourses of “reproduction” and “production” as a means to understand developments in pedagogy for art education since the Renaissance. An understanding of the specific epistemological discourses that must be navigated by artist-teachers when they develop strategies for learning explicate the role of art practices in considering the question: What to teach? The answer lies in debates around technical skills and the capacity for critical thought.
In 1954, Hannah Arendt wrote that talk of a crisis in education “has become a political problem of the first magnitude.” If one trusts the steady stream of books, articles, jeremiads, and statements from public officials lamenting the fallen status of our schools and calling for bold reforms, the 21st century has shown no abatement in crisis as an abiding theme in education discourse. But why does education occupy such a privileged space of attention and why is it so susceptible to the axiomatic evocation of “crisis?” Arendt provides a clue when she argues that “Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token, save it from the ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.”
The crisis in education has come to signal a variety of issues for which the teacher is either a direct or indirect participant: declining student performance, inadequacy of teacher preparation, inequities of opportunity as well as outcome, or a curriculum ill-fitted to the shape of the modern world. However, at base is the issue of social reproduction that Arendt sees at the heart of education. Thus, the crisis in education serves as a forum for expressing, critiquing, and instantiating the values that are at play when considering “the coming of the new and the young.”
The Entanglements of Ethnography and Participatory Action Research (PAR) in Educational Research in North America
The traditions of ethnography and participatory action research (PAR) have different roots and different priorities, but their trajectories have become entangled in educational research over the past half-century. In many ways, ethnography and PAR are compatible. Both make participants’ perspectives central to the research. Both rely primarily on qualitative methods. Both are ethically committed to appreciating cultural differences and promoting the welfare of the groups they work with. Taken together, each adds something important to the other: PAR offers ethnography a “stance toward research” that is more democratic and action-oriented than traditional ethnography; ethnography lends PAR legitimacy as a research approach. Nonetheless, differences between the two create contradictions and tensions when they are combined. While educational researchers remain enthusiastic about the potential of combining activism with cultural analysis, it is important not to collapse ethnography and participatory action research, or privilege one over the other, but to find productive ways to move forward with the tensions between them.
Jason Loh and Guangwei Hu
Educational neoliberalism has swept the world, and Singapore, with its much-lauded educational system, has not been spared. In fact, it has taken a stranglehold on the system, from its policymakers at the helm to its teachers at the chalkface. The embrace of neoliberal ideas has pervaded Singapore’s short educational history, from its colonial times to the present moment, undergirding various educational reforms intended to ensure economic survival in the global economy and prosperity for the nation. Through a slew of educational policies targeted at and enacted by the state-controlled educational organizations, chief among which are the state schools, these reforms have been promulgated as effective educational initiatives to develop each citizen to the fullest potential. Given its ideological centrality in these reforms, educational neoliberalism has exerted a palpable influence on principals, teachers, and their pedagogical practices through a torrent of various performance appraisal mechanisms meant to ensure accountability to the state and the various stakeholders, and stimulate competition in the form of ever-increasing scores, awards and recognized performances in different educational arenas. Thus, marketization and performance management have become the buzzwords for the education industry. Will Singapore’s educational system be able to survive this onslaught of neoliberal pressure? Can it counter the impact of educational neoliberalism on its teachers and their practices? Will its recent policy announcement of assessment reduction have an impact on this neoliberal discourse, or will the neoliberal juggernaut continue to thunder through the system, albeit with less rolling and clapping? Can the teachers contest and resist this neoliberal discourse, while struggling to stay afloat in the sea of performativity? It is these and other questions that have provided the impetus for the present article.
Frode Olav Haara and Eirik S. Jenssen
Pedagogical entrepreneurship is a teaching and learning approach that emphasizes means and possibilities within school subjects, in opposition to reproductive, transmissible, and goal-oriented approaches. Political and education research voices strongly argue for implementation of pedagogical entrepreneurship in all school subjects, due to its lifelong learning perspective. This implies that students of today and tomorrow must be trained in the didactic of possibilities, how to explore and investigate, and how to create value for themselves and others. This calls for an epistemological transformation of subject-specific content knowledge that allows interpretation in many ways and development of a growth mindset.
Pedagogical entrepreneurship is recognized by being innovative and explorative, whether it is about economic growth, values, scientific approach, or making a difference. A narrow definition of entrepreneurship (or enterprise education) includes emphasis on establishing and running a business of some kind. Pedagogical entrepreneurship calls for a broader definition of the entrepreneurship area, since it frames priority of practical, problem-based, research-based, and lifelike activities for the students, cooperation with local businesses, organizations, and life outside school. Pedagogical entrepreneurship allows the students to gain understanding of the complex nature of real-life issues, influence teaching practices, and experience strong relevance of the learning goals, which is likely to increase students’ inner motivation and their experience of holistic learning of content knowledge. Therefore, pedagogical entrepreneurship can appear as a leader philosophy, a way to organize teaching, and specific student activities.
Implementation of new approaches to teaching and learning is always associated with issues and teacher concerns and requires continuing teacher profession development, for instance through attention in teacher education programs and students’ experience with pedagogical entrepreneurship during their teacher education. A way to meet this scenario is to vitalize the broad definition of pedagogical entrepreneurship in teacher education programs in such a way that the teacher education students may operate as change agents when they start to teach after they have graduated. The development, mapping, and introduction of entrepreneurial teaching resources in teacher education will establish the foundation for a didactic of possibilities—an entrepreneurial didactic that may influence students’ motivation and in-depth learning of school subjects.
Maria Teresa Tatto
Beliefs defined as the cognitive basis for the articulation of values and behaviors that mediate teaching practice can serve as powerful indicators of teacher education influence on current and prospective teachers’ thinking. Notwithstanding the importance of this construct, the field seems to lack across the board agreement concerning the kinds of beliefs that are essential for effective teaching, and whether and how opportunities to learn and other experiences have the potential to influence beliefs and knowledge in ways that may equip teachers to interpret, frame and guide action, and to fruitfully engage all pupils with powerful learning experiences. Large-scale international comparative studies provide the opportunity to develop shared definitions that facilitate the exploration of these questions within and across nations.
Theories of complex systems originated in the natural sciences, where it became necessary to move away from describing systems in simple cause–effect models to using descriptions that take into account nonlinearity, emergence, path dependence, the interrelation of continuous (quantitative) and discontinuous (qualitative) transitions, and the interrelation of phenomena at multiple scales. Although some educators have begun to explore the usefulness of complex systems theories for describing educational phenomena at the different levels of scale, the vast majority of educational research continues to be dominated by simple and simplistic (quantitative and qualitative) models. After definition and discussion of different conceptions of systems, this article presents constraint satisfaction networks, chaos theory, and catastrophe theory, as dynamic models for social processes in education. The different models are introduced with easily accessible phenomena from the natural sciences. The models not only are sources of analogies and metaphors for articulating a variety of phenomena in educational systems, including learning and development, conceptual change, decision making, categorization, and curriculum implication, but also can be used for studying real educational systems. Readers find how these models can be used to think about and predict the behavior of systems at scales as small as student–teacher talk to school systems as a whole. The concepts are used to show why educational systems tend to be stable even when policymakers intend change and why some classroom contexts do not provide the conditions for student development despite well-meaning efforts of dedicated teachers.