The Politics of Teacher Professional Development
Policy, Research and Practice
By Ian Hardy
Routledge – 2012 – 228 pages
Series: Routledge Research in Education
The Politics of Teacher Professional Development: Policy, Research and Practice provides innovative insights into teachers’ continuing development and learning in contemporary western contexts. Rather than providing a list of "how-tos" and "must dos," this volume is premised on the understanding that by learning more about the current conditions under which teachers and other educators work and learn, it is possible to understand, and consequently improve, the learning opportunities teachers experience. Teacher professional development is not simply construed as an isolated series of events, such as day-long workshops marking the beginning of each school year or term, or individualistic "one-off" activities focused on new teaching approaches, curricula or assessment strategies. Rather, through application of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’s understanding of social practices as contested, teacher professional development is revealed as a complex social practice which exists as policy, as a research product and process, and as an important part of teachers’ work. The book reveals how PD as policy, research and teachers’ work are inherently contested. An extended series of case studies of teacher professional development practices from Canada, England and Australia are employed to show how these tensions play out in complex ways in policy and practice.
"This book shows that in relation to teachers’ professional development, politics really is inherent; it can’t be wished away or defined away. Teachers’ work—which I think is one of the most complex, difficult and important forms of labor on the planet—is shaped by many institutional pressures and demands, among them those around professional learning. This can be a site of conformity, institutional conservatism, and the reproduction of existing social privileges and hierarchies. But it can be the occasion for creative practice that develops resources for a richer and more open-ended education system…. The capacity to examine and re-shape professional practice has to emerge from inside the profession, if it is to be a profession and not the tool of market-intoxicated governments. The issues that Ian Hardy addresses in this book matter to the future of Education, and getting so much clarity about them is a great contribution."
—from the foreword by Raewyn Connell, University of Sydney
"Teachers and their work are intrinsically influenced by policy and politics under current global conditions. Like winds across the world, we observe the same controls blowing over teachers, such as the use of standardized tests to measure and manage student and teacher learning. In The Politics of Teacher Professional Development, Ian Hardy shows how these processes play out, and how understanding the conditions in which teachers' professional development has evolved is essential to making sense of current educational practices. At the same time, he also argues that the education of teachers from within the profession is vital for ongoing development and renewal. The book is a great contribution to clarify just how politics and teacher professional development are so intricately imbricated, how problematic this relationship can be at times, but also how a positive politics on the part of teachers can sow the seeds of hope for genuinely educative experiences for all."
- Professor Karin Rönnerman, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
1. Introduction: Professional Development in Context, and as Contest Part I: Professional Development as Policy and Research 2. Educational Policy, Politics and Professional Development 3. Professional Development as Research: From Process to Product? Part II: Professional Development in Practice 4. Professional Development in Practice: PD as Teachers’ Work 5. Professional Development in Practice: PD in Australia, Canada and England 6. Conclusion: The Politics of Teacher Professional Development
Ian Hardy is Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.