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Appropriating Tools for Teaching English:
A Theoretical Framework for Research on Learning to Teach

Pamela Grossman, Peter Smagorinsky, and Sheila Valencia


In this article, we propose that activity theory provides a useful framework for studying teachers' professional development. Activity theory emphasizes the importance of settings in learning to teach, focusing on the social and cultural factors that mediate development in particular contexts. We outline the central tenets of activity theory, illustrating key concepts with examples from a longitudinal study of beginning teachers. We conclude by exploring the potential of this theoretical framework to illuminate the process of learning to teach.

* American Journal of Education, November 1999.

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