Development and Autonomy: On the relation between teachers’ continuing professional development and autonomy
2016 (English)In: Att ta utbildningens komplexitet på allvar: en vänbok för Eva Forsberg / [ed] Maja Elmgren, Maria Folke-Fichtelius, Stina Hallsén, Henrik Román, Wieland Wermke, Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016, 328-343 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
In this chapter I want to present considerations about teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD) and how it is related to the autonomy teachers have in their profession in different national contexts. These thoughts relate to my PhD thesis developed in several discussions with Eva Forsberg. This chapter aims to honour her as a very inspiring and influential person to my academic work.
One aspect of teachers’ CPD that is rather underexposed is the question of the impact of the context as Guskey already writes in 1995 and as it is echoed again in Bolam & McMahon (2004). Instead CPD is often treated as a phenomenon that is universal for all teachers in the world. The character of the field of research on teachers’ CPD as being fragmented in a plethora of often highly context-related individual studies could not contribute to a further conceptualisation of the impact of the context on CPD yet (ibid.). Mostly it is only stated that studies in different national contexts often produce the same results which is seen as prove that there exist universal principles [Sprinthall et. al., already in (1996), as example: Avalos’ review on teachers’ CPD from (2011) in Teaching and Teacher Education]. Consequently, models for successful school and teacher improvement are imported and exported as they were common goods from developed to the developing countries, whereas the respective status can be seen at the league tables of international large scale studies (Steiner-Khamsi, 2010). When such models do not work out then, often teachers’ hostility against reform and change is blamed. This chapter tries to tackle this situation by considering guiding mechanisms that have impact on teachers’ CPD in different national contexts. The idea is to investigate crucial aspects of the teaching profession and examining then their impact on teachers’ CPD. Such an approach might contribute to an understanding of different CPD habits of teachers in different national contexts. In this chapter I focus on one very crucial aspect of the profession: Teacher autonomy. What teachers are allowed to do in their practice is highly context related. By comparing the professional development of teachers in Germany and Sweden as example of teaching professions having different kind of autonomy, I will argue for theoretical considerations – though on a very explorative level – on how particular teacher context related autonomy relates to their continuing professional development. The chapter starts with the presentation of my understanding of teacher autonomy as a multidimensional phenomenon. Then shortly both comparative cases, Germany and Sweden are presented regarding their specific teacher autonomy. In the third part German and Swedish teachers’ perceptions on CPD are presented as they appeared in my PhD studies. In the last part both sections are combined in the earlier mentioned aim of this chapter, a theoretical framework on the relation of teachers’ CPD to teacher autonomy.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 328-343 p.
Uppsala Studies in Education, ISSN 0347-1314 ; 138
Teacher autonomy, Teachers' continuing professional development, Teaching profession
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-20972ISBN: 978-91-554-9475-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-20972DiVA: diva2:891775
ProjectsTeacher autonomy in Sweden, Germany, England, Finland
FunderSwedish Research Council