Professionalism in the Remaking: New Labour and the ‘New' Teachers in England

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 11 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Chun-Ying TSENG, University of Taipei, Taiwan
In England, the Ruskin Speech in 1976 succeeded in establishing a publically accepted view of educational accountability marked by effectiveness, responsiveness and responsibility. Since then, the nature and purpose of education and the work of teaching have been gradually subject to management-oriented and performance-driven framing. This paper attempts to trace the remaking trajectories of teacher professionalism in England during the New Labour years (1997- 2010) by examining specifically the mutually-enforcing discourses of accountability and management. Drawing on a discourse analysis of policy documents and data collected from 18 interviews, this paper argues that there are two forms of control woven together in the remaking of teachers in England. That is, a structural form of managerial controls through curriculum and assessment and an inter-discursive network of power which entails the re-organisation of knowledge and power and enacts different ways of being a teacher. In so doing, I use the Labour Process Theory developed by Braverman and a Foucauldian conception of discourse to highlight that teachers in England’s state schools are implicated in a dual process of re/de-professionalisation. They are remade with new skills, new ways of working and new sensibilities, all of which ‘make-up’ a ‘professional’ teacher. Concurrently, these ‘new’ teachers are in effect, increasingly being transformed from ‘professional’ to ‘proletarian workers’, who have diminishing autonomy in relation to their pedagogical practices and whose conditions of work have been gradually changed. They are essentially positioned within a duality of enabling and discipline.