This study joins recent research that explores the phenomenon of teacher learning through complexity and variability. Our paper furthers this line of enquiry by exploring how literacy teacher learning unfolds in self-directed professional development. In particular, we use concepts from actor-network theory (ANT) to help understand the ways two iterations of a teacher book club influenced participants’ learning. The first iteration supported one teacher, Sebastián, in changing from traditional, teacher-centred literature study to more student-driven reading and writing workshop instruction and in taking up critical, asset-based perspectives of students. A second iteration of this group did not support a different, new teacher, Claire, in reframing her practice or perspective in similar ways. While we, as both active participants within the teacher book clubs and researchers interested in teacher learning, were initially confused and disappointed with what appeared to be a failed learning experience for Claire, engaging ANT offered a new angle. Rather than focusing on Claire as an individual, ANT allowed us to trace backwards to see how networks came together, competed, dissolved, overlapped in ways that produced Claire’s teaching practices and perspectives, unsettling individualised and linear conceptions of teacher learning.
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