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Professional (Non-)Commitment?: Dilemmas in Teachers’ Task Perception in Relation to Documentation
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences. (Induction)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5592-2964
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Culture Studies, Religious Studies and Educational Sciences. (Induction)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1871-4488
2013 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

For over 30 years neo-liberal currents have had a far-reaching influence on the restructuring of educational systems. The managerial consequences of this have often taken the shape of New Public Management (Grimmet, Flemming & Trotter, 2009). Some of these consequences are marketisation, increased managerialism, an increased focus on effectiveness and international comparisons. These in turn lead to demands for grades at an earlier age and extensive student testing. In all, these developments have led to the documentation of students’ results becoming a larger part of teachers’ work. The aforementioned changes are often described as things that challenge and change teachers’ professional roles and positions, as well as their autonomy and commitment (Day et al., 2005). New kinds of dilemmas for teachers emerge when regimes of accountability are enforced.

Altogether, these trends constitute changes in teachers’ working conditions, professional roles, tasks, obligations and commitment. However, the ways in which teachers deal with these changes depend on how they make sense of them, and, especially, how they make sense of their tasks as teachers (Kelchtermans, 1993).

In this paper we focus on the different ways in which teachers make sense of the increased amount of documentation and how this affects their commitment as teachers. By documentation we mean e.g. developing and documenting evaluation and grading criteria, documenting pupils’ progress and knowledge growth in various ways.  The theoretical framework of this study draws on the concepts of task perception and teacher commitment. Task perception is “the normative component of teachers’ self-understanding” (Kelchtermans, 2009, p. 262); i.e. how a teacher understands what the tasks and duties are and what he/she must do in order to do a good and “right” job (cf. Dall’Alba & Sandberg, 2006; Kelchtermans, 1993; 2009). It is important to acknowledge that sense-making processes could result in different task perceptions. Sandberg and Targama (2007) stress that “the same task can be understood in different ways and the more complex the task, the greater the number of possible ways of understanding it” (p. 11). For instance, the task of documentation can be understood differently when related to specific contexts, which means that the perception of the task emerges differently.

Commitment involves an investment of time, energy, emotions, beliefs and attitudes and is a nested phenomenon that is not only located within the individual, but also in “the personal values, professional interests and micro-political, emotional, social and political context of their work” (Day et al, 2007, p. 215). In research on teacher commitment, four types of factors that either sustain or diminish commitment have been found (Day et al., 2005). Personal factors and school context were found to be the most significant for sustaining levels of commitment to teaching, while factors related to system context tended to diminish the commitment. Professional factors, such as opportunities for professional development or the introduction of teaching innovations (e.g. ICT), also affect teachers’ commitment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
commitment, documentation, task perception, teacher knowledge, teaching
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-13749OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-13749DiVA: diva2:602009
Conference
ECER 2013, Creativity and Innovation in Educational Research, 10-13 September 2013, Istanbul, Turkey
Projects
"Väg-skäl" - En longitudinell studie av val och ideal i lärares yrkesbanor
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2011-5933
Available from: 2013-01-31 Created: 2013-01-31 Last updated: 2016-08-16Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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