Book Chapter

The teacher and the curriculum: exploring teacher agency



Priestley M, Biesta G, Philippou S & Robinson S (2016) The teacher and the curriculum: exploring teacher agency. In: Wyse D, Hayward L & Pandya J (eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment. London: SAGE Publications Ltd, pp. 187-201.

A key debate in the curriculum field has centred on the extent to which teachers should or could achieve agency over the curriculum they enact. Threats to teacher agency have come from top-down control of curricula, either through input regulation (prescription of content, methods and/or teaching materials) or output regulation (steering through outcomes). Drawing upon an ecological model to explore the concept of teacher agency, this chapter will illustrate through empirical research conducted in Scotland and Cyprus, how it manifests in various ways through teachers’ work. The chapter concludes with a discussion of why it is important to understand and take into account teacher agency when formulating and developing curriculum policy.

Teacher agency; professional agency; teacher autonomy; curriculum policy; curriculum change; curriculum regulation; curriculum enactment

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/01/2016
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Publisher URL
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Professor Mark Priestley
Professor Mark Priestley

Professor, Education

Projects (1)

Teacher agency and curriculum change