Teachers' Professional Lives

Teachers' Professional Lives

Teachers' Professional Lives

Teachers' Professional Lives


This text provides a discussion of the meaning of teacher professionalism and how it can be improved. Distinguishing between six different models of meaning of professionalism, it takes an international perspective in looking at the realities behind the working lives of teachers.


Setting professional standards and redefining what it means to be professional in teaching are at the forefront of educational reform. Universities and unions, governments and business all have aspirations to raise the professional status of teaching and establish professional standards for their work. Professional development and training are experiencing sweeping changes, professional standards are being created, self-regulating, professional bodies for teachers are being set up.

Yet while the aspirations for greater professionalism in teaching are admirable, what such professionalism might mean is often vague, unclear or contested. Moreover, what teachers themselves think about professionalism or what they experience under its name are addressed too rarely. This international book examines just what’s behind the push for professionalism. A key opening chapter sets out the field and distinguishes between six different models of meanings of professionalism. With others, it disentangles altruistic visions of professionalism from ones that are nakedly self-serving, or that disguise and excuse the imposition of even greater bureaucratic control. Other chapters portray what teacher professionalism and teachers’ professional lives look like in practice, in the daily working lives of teachers themselves.

The movement for teacher professionalism, professional standards and professional self-regulation has become a bandwagon for academic and bureaucratic cheer-leaders who presume to know what is best for teachers. This timely book takes discussion off the bandwagon and lodges it firmly within the working lives and realities of teachers themselves.

The chapters in this book have all been written specially for it. They come from experienced researchers across the world in North America, England, Australia, Israel and Scandinavia, who have been stimulated by our own professional network of inquiry and dialogue that has helped push our thinking in international and interdisciplinary ways on what teacher professionalism is, what it means, and whether it is always a good thing.

Building collaborative communities of critical colleagues is as difficult in educational research as it is in schoolteaching, and we are grateful for the various funding bodies who have believed in the value of professional dialogue, and supported our efforts to interact electronically and in person in pursuit of greater knowledge and understanding of these important challenges that confront teaching and education.

Among the groups and individuals we would like to thank for supporting our . . .

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