32 SES 12, Professionalization in Organizational Education
This paper reports aspects of a case study of a project in which successive groups of senior educational administrators and teacher educators from a developing country took part in professional development courses in a New Zealand University.
The developing country has an extensive agenda of increasing access to education and of improving its quality. Its policy (Ministry of Education, 2010) and its development projects acknowledge the prevalence and the limitations of authoritarian teacher-centred and reductive approaches to teaching as well as the dominance of an examination that rewards rote-learning (Alam 2016; Salahuddin 2016; UNESCO 2011). The officials and teacher educators who come to the courses, while charged with implementing policy that encourages group work, creativity and constructivism, are nevertheless products of the traditional and still enduring education system. Within this system, in most schools, students spontaneously take their seat in the classroom according to their rank in examination passes, the highest mark leading the front, and they rote learn, from commercial guide books and private coaching, answers to the questions that will occur in the high stakes public examinations that will determine their access to further education and desirable careers. The dominance of reductive examinations is not limited to schooling; it also controls entry into public service.
Change is never a simple issue, and in a developing country, the impact of large population, severely limited resources and the continuing influence of profit-making global monetarism create significant pressures. Thus forces that largely control learning expectations and learning behaviour within the country have also shaped, to some extent, the prevailing attitudes and behaviours of its senior officials and its teacher educators.
Repeatedly course participants acknowledge that policy in education is outrunning implementation. They come with strong knowledge of the dictums of educational policy and of its aspirations towards student-centred, practically relevant and creative teaching practices. What is seen to be missing is detailed understanding of how policy could be transformed into strategic planning for and resourcing of change and how policy ideals can be translated into practice.
The paper examines:
- differing expectations of course participants and course teachers, particularly in terms of approaches to control and interpersonal interactions,
- cultural contexts in which the attitudes and behaviours of both groups were shaped,
- effect of the participants’ professional roles, (particularly of their perceptions of accountability and power ) on their roles as learners,
- complex, continuing and yet shifting, interplays of role and power and the impact of these on the evolution of the courses and the understanding that develop
- ways these interplays may impact on the usefulness, or not, of such intercultural projects,
- ways these interplays may determine the future development of teacher education within the developing country.
The paper looks at change management in this context as a complex and multifaceted educational process. To some extent all the participants in the project see themselves as change agents. Those from the developing country are positioned within that country as professionals mandated with responsibility for improving educational access, practices and outcomes, be it as administrative officials or teacher educators. Within the professional development courses they variously navigate between the role of learners and their original role as implementers of national policy. The university teachers in the course also navigate between their contextually assumed role of experts in the fields of curriculum context, pedagogy and change management and the role of learner challenged by exploring the problems and possible solutions of a national context that is foreign to them. Both groups play out their navigation of roles within the constraints of external policy, resourcing and expectation. The constraints exist at institutional, national and supranational levels.
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