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ABSTRACT. For the first time in the history of Australian teachers’ working lives they will have to work with both a national curriculum and a set of national professional standards which bring with them expectations of 21st century teaching, the definition of which remains imprecise and somewhat elusive. This paper explores teachers’ constructions of professional learning against a political landscape dominated by this centralized reform agenda the purpose of which may simply be to achieve compliance with a technical and rather limited view of the work of teachers. Bakhtin’s ideas, particularly those related to dialogue and dialogic interactions, provide a means to theorize (i) the relationship between researcher and participant in such a way as to allow each to contribute to the learning of the other (ii) teachers as neither “finalisable” nor “complete” (1984) in any given moment allowing teachers to legitimately hold what may seem to be conflicting views about professional learning and the way in which it should be facilitated (iii) a remix of his metaphor of the centrifuge to represent the factors that enable teachers to resist a compliance agenda in the interests of producing knowledge that will assist them to transform their teaching practice. pp. 171–187

Keywords: teacher learning; teaching standards; curriculum; Bakhtin; utterance; dialogic; centrifuge

DEBRA TALBOT
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University of Sydney, Australia

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