01 SES 03 C, Collegiality and Context
Parallel Paper Session
The research in this paper is the result of a partnership of a large school board for secondary education schools and three universities. The aim of this paper is to illuminate the interplay between teachers’ professional development, the school as a work environment for teachers, and school policy. The research is based on three assumptions: (1) school HRD policy and related individual trajectories for teacher professional development can only be effective when the school offers a stimulating context for teachers to practice their newly acquired skills and insights in a meaningful way, (2) the quality of the work environment in schools for teachers is primarily determined by the content and organization of teaching and its effects on student learning, and (3) teachers as researchers can make significant contributions to the illumination of this interplay between professional development, work environment, and policy.
In this specific project eight teachers of seven secondary schools and a university researcher collaborate. The aim is to explore how opportunities for professional development that are related to specific improvements in teaching and student guidance in these schools can be promoted. The focus in this paper is (1) on data that regard the school as a work environment for teachers, and (2) on data regarding perceived opportunities for professional development by teachers related to school improvement. The question is how teachers in these seven school perceive their actual and their ideal work environments, how these actual and ideal work environments differ, and how these perceived work environments relate to their opportunities for professional development in their schools.
Actual and ideal work environments are conceptualized by distinguishing three images of teacher work: teacher work as profession, as craft, and as labor/mass production (see: work by Densmore (1987) and by the Rand Corp - Darling-Hammond and others (1983 and 1985)- for the conceptual foundation of these images). These three images have strong roots in the history of teaching and schooling. The assumption is that actual and ideal perceptions of work environments are hybrids of these three images, and, as a result, that teacher work should be assumed to be multidimensional.
Professional development is defined as the continuing line of formal and informal learning experiences during the career of a teacher (Imants, 2001). In this paper opportunities for professional development are conceptualized in a school specific way, depending on the school improvement initiatives in the participating schools (e.g.: differentiation between students in early grades of secondary education, introduction of opportunities for teacher reserach in the schools, etc.).
Darling-Hammond, l., Wise, A., & Pease, S. (1983). Teacher evaluation in the organizational context: a review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 53, 285-328. Densmore, K., (1987). Professionalism, proletarianiazation and teacher work. In T. Popkewiz (Ed.), Critical Studies in Teacher Education (pp. 130-160). London: Falmer Press. Imants, J. (2001). Professionalisering en innovatie. In: B. Creemers & T. Houtveen (Eds.). Onderwijsinnovatie (Innovation in education) (pp. 75-98). Alphen a/d Rijn: Kluwer. Wise, A., Darling-Hammond, L., McLaughlin, M., & Bernstein, H. (1985). Teacher evaluation: a study of effective practices. Elementary School Journal, 86, 60-121.
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