01 SES 02 B, Professionalisation and Policy
Parallel Paper Session
Joint Session with NW 13
This paper offers a conceptually tentative re-working of familiar notions of professionalism. In doing so it also problematises those specific constructions of ‘profession’ and ‘professional’ that are situated as categories of difference within the context of teacher, leadership and institutional development programmes and initiatives in international higher education at the present time. In using a range of Deleuzian figures and conceptualisations the paper is designed to offer a speculative cartography of professional-becomings that, in turn, suggest the need for inquiry into always differentiating possibilities for professional subjectivities, practices and developmental strategies. The continuing growth of links and partnerships between European and international HE institutions underlines the importance of developing multi-perspective and inter-professional approaches that are likely to emerge out of research of this kind. The crisis of confidence in professional knowledge that Schon (1987) proclaimed as evident some 20 years ago, whilst having undergone certain changes, has not disappeared and, in the view of this paper, continues to require attention. In arguing for a form of professionalism that will continually and actively explore and create concepts as events, this paper will suggest that a reliance upon rigid specifications of the ‘professional’ and of ‘professional practice’ can contribute to the perpetuation of this sense of crisis in professional development in education today and serve to limit the potential for the continued growth of trans-national professional links and contacts.
The paper emerges from an ongoing action research project currently being carried out by the author into writing as professional development with a group of HE professional practitioners in the UK. Notions of ‘professionalism’, ‘professional identity’ and ‘professional practice’ are creatively examined through the use of a plural, reflexive and methodologically relevant Deleuzian action research praxis that promotes conceptualisation as event. In this respect, the use of participant collaborative writing activities within the research project have begun to demonstrate that conceptualisations of professional teaching and learning are not necessarily limited to classrooms, formal professional development agendas and nationally specific policy initiatives. These have also been found to be effectively contextualised through a range of sensate, affective and intuitively informed situations and practices. So, for example, in these settings, the on-going and highly engaged research practice of placing the discursively constructed professional/personal binary under erasure has become a highly productive modus vivendi.
In drawing upon a range of Deleuzian approaches and figures, such as ‘assemblage’, ‘becoming’, ‘multiplicity’ and others, the research continues to promote inquiry into the influence of organisational cultures upon professional teacher learning and knowledge. In carrying this out a theory and practice of writing as a method of individual and collaborative inquiry has begun to offer an approach to professional learning that tolerates ambiguity and works to make the familiar strange. On the basis of this research the paper will therefore attempt to offer a reflexive engagement with a creative form of professionalisation that, it is claimed, can work effectively to engage in decision-making in the changing and uncertain conditions of contemporary higher education in European and broader international settings.
Done, E., Knowler, H., Murphy, M., Rea, T. and Gale. K. (2011) (Re)Writing CPD: Creative Analytical Practices and the ‘Continuing Professional Development’ of Teachers, Reflective Practice, 12.3 (June 2011) Peseta, T. (2007) Troubling our desires for research and writing within the academic development project, International Journal for Academic Development, 12, 15-23. Richardson, L. and St Pierre, E. (2005) (3rd Edition) Writing: A method of inquiry, in: Denzin NK and Lincoln YS (Eds.) Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Schon, D. (1987) Educating the reflective practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey Bass. St.Pierre E. (1997) Methodology in the fold and the irruption of transgressive data, Qualitative Studies in Education, 10, 175–189. Wyatt J, Gale K, Gannon S and Davies B (2011) Deleuze and collaborative writing: an immanent plane of composition, London: Peter Lang.
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