ERG SES D 13, Education and Teachers' Learning
In focus of this text is how collegiality in teachers’ work can be understood in a restructured educational system. In Swedish schools, there has been an increased demand for teacher cooperation and since the 1980s teacher teams working around the students have become common. Almost at the same time the educational system was restructured e.g. in terms of deregulation, privatisation and school vouchers. Business-like ways of of organizing and governing like this was introduced in education in order to increase efficiency and international competitiveness (Hudson, 2007, Johannesson, 2002). Both, in part conflicting ways of organizing teachers’ work, is said to have impact on student results and teachers’ professionalization.
In this study the concept of teacher cultures will be used. In accordance with Hargreaves (1994:166) I see teacher cultures as contextual and in accordance with Goodson (2003) I regard teachers’ work to be politically and socially constructed (Goodson, 2003:52). The concept of teacher cultures can be said to include convictions, values and ways of acting (Hargreaves 1994). Here, I want to learn more about teacher cultures in relation to teacher collegiality. The study is based on previous research on teacher learning communities (TLC) where teachers work and learn together (McLaughlin, 2001, 2006) and research on teachers’ work under restructuring in Europe (Goodson & Lindblad, 2011, Samuelsson & Lindblad, 2013). In this paper the aspect of competition will be conceptualized as teachers’ perception of the school’s application rates. Collegiality will be conceptualized through the concept of teacher learning communities (TLC). TLC has different definitions, but what they have in common is that "they all feature a common image of a professional community where teachers work collaboratively to reflect on their practice, examine evidence about the relationship between practice and student outcomes, and make changes that improve teaching and learning for the particular students in their classes" (McLaughlin, M.W. & Talbert, J.E. 2006:4).
This text argues that it is important to study teacher collegiality in a restructured educational system, since both organizing principles claim ways for student success (McLaughlin, 2001, Lindblad, 2010). McLaughlin shows that the correlation between teacher learning communities and student results is high. However, Lundahl (2011) shows that in a restructured educational system everybody is competing at all levels. How can this relation be understood? Can teacher cultures in terms of collegiality be seen as a way of competing on a school market or is there competition between colleagues within schools? I put forward two questions:
1. What variation is there in collegiality in Swedish teacher cultures?
2. How can collegiality in teacher cultures be understood in a restructured educational system where competition is central?
It could be expected that in a restructured educational system collegiality is strong, following McLaughlin’s research (2001) on teacher learning communities and their correlation to teachers’ professionalization and student results. These factors could be expected as being important in a school competing over students. In addition there has been a long strive for teacher cooperation in Swedish schools. However, Lundahl (2011) shows that there is competition on all levels in the educational system, not only between public and independent schools, which would suggest that collegiality is at stake.
This paper wants to study this correlation and discuss how teacher cultures can be understood in terms of collegiality and competition.
 i.e private but tax funded
Evetts, J. (2006) Introduction: Trust and Professionalism: Challenges and Occupational Changes. Current Sociology. Vol 54; 515-531. Foss Lindblad, R. & Lindblad, S. (2009). The politics of professionalising talk on teaching. In S. Maarten, M. Olssen, & M. Peters (Eds.). Rereading educational policies: Studying the policy agenda of the 21st century. Rotterdam: Sense Publisher. Hudson, C. (2007). Governing the Governance of Education: the state strikes back? European Educational research Journal, Vol 6, Number 3, 2007: 266-282. Fournier, V. (1999) The Appeal to “Professionalism” as a Disciplinary Mechanism, Social Review 47(2): 280–307. Goodson, I.F. & Lindblad, S. (Eds). (2011). Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe, 1-10. Sense Publishers. Goodson, I.F. (2003). Professional Knowledge, Professional Lives. Studies in education and change. Glasgow: Open University Press. Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing Teachers, Changing Times. Teachers’ Work and Culture in the Postmodern Age. London: Cassell. Houtsonen et al. (2010). Welfare State Restructuring in Education and its National Refractions: Finnish, Irish and Swedish Teachers’ Perceptions of Current Changes. Current Sociology 2010 58:597. Johannesson, I.A. et al. (2002). An Inevitable Progress? Educational Restructuring in Finland, Iceland and Sweden at the Turn of the Millenium. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 46(3):325-39. Lindblad, S. (2010). Turn taking in large-scale reforms: re-modelling welfare state education in Sweden. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft vol 13-2011, 67-81. Lomos, C., Hofman, R.H. & Bosker, R.J., (2010). Professional Communities and student achievement – a meta-analysis. School Effectiveness and School Improvement: An International Journal of Research, Policy and Practice, 22:2, 121-148. Lundahl, L. (2011) Gymnasiet som marknad. I Resultatdialog, 2011. VR. Rapportnummer, 7:2011. McLaughlin, M.W. & Talbert, J.E. (2001). Professional communities and the Work of High School Teachers. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. McLaughlin, M.W. & Talbert, J.E. (2006). Building School Based Teacher Learning Communities: professional strategies to improve student achievement. NewYork: Teachers College Press. Samuelsson, K. & Lindblad, S. (2013). Professionalism and New Public Management in Teachers’ Work: A comparative study of teacher cultures in Sweden and Finland. Paper presented at ECER Emerging Researchers’ conference in Istanbul, Turkey, September 2013. Talbert, J.E., McLaughlin, M.W. (1994). Teacher Professionalism in Local School Contexts. American Journal of Education 102 (February 1994).
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