01 SES 02 C, Teachers' Work
This paper is concerned with policy (both as policy implemented and policy enacted, see Ball et al., 2012) around diverse teaching workforce having particular focus on teachers with specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) within the Further Education sector of England and Finland. It outlines two different ways to seek an understanding of aspects of teacher diversity through two research projects focusing on individual teachers’ perspective and another project exploring managers’ understandings. Teacher workforce diversity is a timely and global topic not only in terms of better addressing the needs of the diverse student population, but also acknowledging the composition of the staff or workforce. In their report on improving the quality of teacher education, the European Commission (2007) indicated that the composition of a teaching workforce needs to reflect the diversity of the society in which it operates. Some aspects of diversity are clearly visible, some others are not, yet all employees bring their own experiences and life stories into work contexts. Diversifying the teacher workforce, however, has been typically considered in terms of race, culture, gender and ethnicity, whereas very little attention has been paid to other types of workforce diversities, such as, sexual orientation or disability (OECD, 2009; Fullick, 2008).
To create room for a deeper understanding of teacher workforce diversity the Finnish study focused on tertiary teachers’ experiences and perceptions of their dyslexia in relation to the way they view themselves as professionals and negotiate their professional identities (Burns et al., 2013). The initial findings of the study suggest that an invisible diversity, such as dyslexia, contributes to their sense of professional identity. Negotiation of professional teacher identity seems to be a complex and fluctuating phenomenon in which both teachers’ individual internal processes and organizations’ environment play a part in a specific way. The negotiation process seems to require heightened self-awareness, effective resilience strategies and strong self-efficacy beliefs.
The English based study (O’Dwyer and Thorpe, 2013) explored the professionalism and the standards debate as it relates to teachers with specific learning difficulties in the context of Further Education in England. A tension was identified between the government’s policy of defining teachers more tightly in terms of entry qualifications and standards (encouraging a uniform and mechanistic approach to the teaching profession and the nature of that professionalism), whilst espousing a policy of creating a more inclusive profession as promoted by the Equalities and Disability Discrimination legislation. Interviews with key leaders and managers in a Further Education college and the analysis of college policy documents were used to illuminate the issues surrounding the inclusion of teachers with specific learning difficulties and investigate how leaders and managers in Further Education perceived the implementation and enactment of policy. Instead of harnessing the difference in thinking and doing that may arise from having a teacher with SpLDs, the enforcement of the ‘one size fits all’ concept of teacher professionalism could inadvertently disadvantage those that equality and diversity employment legislation is in place to protect. It is at best ironic that education institutions celebrate different ways of learning for students whilst the macro policy discourse in England is intent on homogenising the teaching profession (Leaton Gray & Whitty, 2010) and there is a need to address this juxtaposition to ensure that it does not become a vehicle for disadvantage and indirect discrimination against teachers which involves enabling managers in schools and colleges to support teachers without fear of negative consequences when they do so.
Ball, S., Maguire, M. and Braun, A. (2012) How schools do policy: policy enactments in secondary schools. Abingdon: Routledge. Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Burns, E. and Bell, S. (2010). Voices of teachers with dyslexia in Finnish and English further and higher educational settings. Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice 16 (5), pp.529-543. Burns, E. and Bell, S. (2011). Narrative Construction of Professional Teacher Identity of Teachers with Dyslexia. Teaching and Teacher Education, An International Journal of Research and Studies 27 (5), pp.952-960. Burns, E., Poikkeus, A-M. and Aro, M. (2013). Resilience strategies employed by teachers with dyslexia working at tertiary education. Teaching and Teacher Education 34 (1), pp.77-85. Denzin, N. K. (1992). Symbolic Interactionism and Cultural Studies: The Politics of Interpretation. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. European Commission (2007). Improving the Quality of Teacher Education. Retrieved January 22, 2014 from http://www.oapee.es/documentum/MECPRO/Web/weboapee/servicios/documentos/documentacion-convocatoria-2008/com392en.pdf?documentId=0901e72b8000447c Fairclough, N. (2005) Discourse Analysis in Organization Studies: The Case for Critical Realism. Organization Studies 26: 915–39. Fullick, L. (2008). From compliance to culture change: Disabled people working in lifelong learning, Final Summary Report of the Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning. London: NIACE. Luke, A. (2009) Critical Realism, Policy, and Educational Research. In Ercikan, K. and Roth, W-M. (Eds.) Generalizing from Educational Research : Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Polarization. Routledge, New York, pp. 173-200. O’Dwyer, A. and Thorpe, A. (2013) Managers’ understandings of supporting teachers with specific learning disabilities: macro and micro understandings in the English Further education sector. Cambridge Journal of Education 43 (1), pp.89-105. OECD (2009). Fostering Diversity in the Public Service. Public Employment and Management Working Party. Retrieved January 20, 2014 from http://ec.europa.eu/ewsi/UDRW/images/items/docl_14664_257349945.pdf Webster, L. and Mertova, P. (2007). Using narrative inquiry as a research method: an introduction to using critical event narrative analysis in learning and teaching. London: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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