The Case Study of Jenny: The Unresponsive Apprentice

  • Hongzhi Yang
Part of the English Language Education book series (ELED, volume 3)


This chapter presents another teacher case study. Jenny (pseudonym) may be described as an ‘unresponsive apprentice’ who did not want to change and did not respond to the reform. This chapter begins with an analysis of the activity system of Jenny’s classroom teaching. The following section then focuses on the contradictions in Jenny’s activity system. The third section of the chapter analyses Jenny’s agency to change, from the perspective of the ZPD, and the factors that influenced her agency. Jenny lacked the agency to overcome the situational constraints of the community, rules and division of labour in her classroom. Further analysis of the contradictions in Jenny’s activity system revealed that she left some contradictions unresolved, or if the contradictions were resolved, it was as a result of giving up on innovation. Jenny’s agency to use what she had learned to help her teaching to become more innovative was constrained by many factors including lack of effective tools, lack of practical knowledge of teaching, her isolation from the teaching community, her dependence on the textbook and her students.


Unresponsive apprentice Activity system Agency Constraints Unresolved contradictions Give up 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hongzhi Yang
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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