23 SES 07 D, Teacher Professionalism
In recent years, teacher education reform has become a key focus across the UK, Europe and many developed countries across the world (Darling-Hammond & Leiberman, 2012). Despite differing national contexts and traditions, these reforms share the underlying assumption that teacher quality is central to student outcomes (Wang, Odell, Klecka, Spalding & Lin, 2010). This perception has been heightened by the influential OECD (2005) report, ‘Teachers Matter’.
This international policy concern has had a very particular Scottish refraction: Teaching Scotland’s Future (TSF), perhaps more widely known as the Donaldson Report (Donaldson, 2011). TSF contains fifty recommendations for the improvement of teacher education in its entirety. Markedly different from previous policy texts, TSF heralds a radical move by the Scottish Government, in line with international developments, to reform and modernise teacher education. Following the government’s acceptance of all fifty recommendations, which was an unusual move given the propensity of governments to ‘cherry pick’ elements of a review that fit with their policy objectives, a National Partnership Group (NPG) was created and tasked with translating the recommendations into policy. A subsequent partnership group, the National Implementation Board (NIB) has since been assembled to finalise the finer details of implementation, and to tackle some of the more sensitive and complex recommendations.
The members of the NPG and the NIB can be considered as powerful actors in the sphere of Scottish education, representing universities, Scottish Government, local government, and teacher unions and associations. Each of these ‘institutional actors’ arrives at the table of ‘common interest’ with a constituency, a set of expectations and a set of normative attachments. Such complex and rhizomatic entailments are apt to produce nodes of contestation and blockage resulting in the establishment of power relations within and between groups. Drawing on our analysis of operational and political dynamics within the NPG and NIB, this paper locates such nodes of contestation and blockage as they occur in real time, and discusses their role in the silencing of a policy agenda.
Recognising the role of economic, social, historical and cultural contexts in education policy formation, this research employs a critical policy scholarship approach (Grace, 2007). We also borrow elements of Actor Network Theory (ANT; Fenwick & Edwards, 2010) in order to trace policy implementation, a moving target, as it evolves over time. Viewing ANT as a set of conceptual and methodological tools, a palette of resources, rather than a theory of what to think, it is used to illuminate complex dynamics, conceptualise institutional and individual power relations, identify actors, networks and forces, and trace the flow of power between them.
Drawing on the analysis of a range of qualitative data, this paper aims to:
- Identify key actors, networks and forces with capacity to drive or limit the agenda set out in TSF
- Trace the interaction and power relations between key actors and highlight the way in which policy is shaped by these in real time
- Map the process by which the policy agenda set out in TSF is becoming silenced
Darling-Hammond, L. (2012). Teacher Preparation and Development in the United States: A changing policy landscape. In L. Darling-Hammong & A Lieberman (Eds.) Teacher Education around the Word: Changing Policies and Practices. Oxon: Routledge. Donaldson, G. (2011). Teaching Scotland's Future. Edinburgh: Scottish Government. Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor-Network Theory in Education. Oxon: Routledge. Grace, G. (2002). Catholic Schools: Mission, Markets and Morality. London: RoutledgeFalmer. Grace, G. (2007). Education and the City: Theory, history and contemporary practice. London: Routledge. OECD. (2005). Teachers Matter: Attracting Developing and Retaining Teachers. Paris: OECD. Wang, J., Odell, S. J., Klecka, C. L., Spalding, E., & Lin, E. (2010). Understanding teacher education reform. Journal of Teacher Education, 61, 395–402.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.