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Postmodernist perceptions of teacher professionalism: a critique

Postmodernist perceptions of teacher professionalism: a critique

Parker, Gemma (2015) Postmodernist perceptions of teacher professionalism: a critique. The Curriculum Journal, 26 (3). pp. 452-467. ISSN 0958-5176 (Print), 1469-3704 (Online) (doi:

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This is an era of significant government involvement in schools in England, despite consistent rhetoric from the Department of Education to the contrary. In such a period, signs can be detected of the juncture between a postmodern identity and post-professional status, two models of teacher professionalism supposed in Hargreaves’ work on the fourth age of professionalism. This paper focuses on the former as the nature of the contemporary context. Defining features of postmodernity are considered through a focus on the broad issue of teacher professionalism. For this paper, this is embodied by teachers’ involvement with the development of the Primary National Curriculum for England. Evidence will be drawn from just before its 1988 introduction until 2013 in order to critique several of the key tenets of postmodernity as identified by Hargreaves. This is of particular importance in a context where a strong defence is necessary to enable the sustainment, and growth, of teachers’ professional autonomy. This paper aims to propose some strategies teachers could enact in the face of postmodern challenges.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: teacher professionalism, postmodern, curriculum development, accountability
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:31

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