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Göteborgs universitets publikationer

The Politics of Professionalizing Talk on Teaching: Boundary Work and Reconfigurations of Teaching and Teachers.

Författare och institution:
Rita Foss Lindblad (Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, enheten för Lärande i vuxenliv); Sverker Lindblad (Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, enheten för Lärande i vuxenliv)
Publicerad i:
Simons, M., Olsen, M. & Peters, M.P. (Eds): Re-Reading Education Policies: A Handbook Studying the Policy Agenda of the 21st Century., s. 786-806
ISBN 978-90-8790-829-4
Sense Publishers
Sammanfattning (abstract):
Teachers work has long been a central subject in politics as well as in policy-making, but the efforts and aims to ‘professionalise’ the occupation is of more recent origin, as is the general talk of teachers as professionals. Our historical journey on these issues has aimed to give an overview of various literatures in the field, and, more specifically, aimed to highlight the political nature of questions about the professional status and characteristics of teaching, captured by the term ‘boundary work.’ We have pointed to the central role of ‘science’ as an important mediator in raising the intellectual authority of teaching, and we have claimed that it is important also as a source and tool in processes of educational governance. We have also pointed to the social and political nature of the sciences and its conceptualisations. Given this, our overview of the professionalising talk on teaching, and our intention to unpack some of its main ideas, assumptions, and distinctions, has allowed us to reach some conclusions about the present situation of naturalised – taken for granted – talk of teaching as a profession. Firstly, we could conclude that present talk about teaching as a profession is futuristic, e.g. construing teacher qualifications and behaviours which are supposed to be needed, for today and the near future. The professional concept has become a demarcation between what are considered to be old-fashioned behaviours and new ones, between what has been and what is yet to come. Secondly, even though there are many stakeholders involved, there seem to be clear convergences between them about how to define the present situation and its challenges: for example, the work of teaching is generally regarded as increasingly dependent on science-based tools and knowledge; for managing such things as school reforms, student outcomes and more complex interactions between the schools and their environments, e.g. in terms of regression analyses on social background and ethnicity in relation to school performances. As there seems to be little of epistemic controversy among the stakeholders, we can, thirdly, note strong tendencies of homogenisation in discourses on teaching and the meaning of schooling. Some decades ago this would be talked about as a convergence of paradigms in the educational sector, where supranational organisations, national system actors (who have previously been seen as the central policy-makers) and educationalist researchers engage in exploring the same research agenda, with similar tools and shared research problems. However, what could be understood as a significant change is, fourthly, changes in the research agenda itself; how it situating itself in contemporary societies as a transition in the processes of policymaking and as a shift in the politics of scientific knowledge production generally, as exemplified in terms of the contested performative turn in education as well as in educational research. Our overview has shown that the present situation of professionalising talk on teaching is taking place in times of educational restructuring and tends in several ways to be sharing some of the restructuration characteristics, such as accountability, transparency and evaluation. Thus, the de-centering of policy-making could be viewed as a potential explanatory clue for understanding the emergence of professionalising talk on teaching, and for the specific epistemic profiles in this talk. We argue that new forms and technologies for governance inscribed in the processes of educational restructuring involve an expansion of the policy-making apparatus and its actors. This is a transition in the processes of policy-making, where previous boundaries between teachers’ work, science, and policy tend to erode. It is also a shift in the politics of scientific knowledge where questions of intellectual authority are preceded in new ways, now involving boundary work on the conception of science, and its institutional place of residence as well.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Utbildningsvetenskap ->
Statsvetenskap ->
Studier av offentlig förvaltning
professionalization, educational restructuring, teaching profession
Postens nummer:
Posten skapad:
2010-01-06 19:48
Posten ändrad:
2010-02-22 18:44

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