Spaces of Possibility for Transformative Teacher Learning

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:20
Location: Hörsaal 6C P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Debra TALBOT, University of Sydney, Australia
Teachers’ work and teacher learning, in Australia and internationally, are increasingly governed by an accountability agenda embedded in texts related to national curriculum and national professional standards for teachers. This centralised, managerial agenda creates a view of teacher learning as an activity proscribed by technical descriptors and undertaken by individualised teachers. These texts are implicated in the production of local governing texts and processes that influence the way teacher professional learning happens within and beyond the school walls and as such, have the potential to act, in perhaps unintended ways, to narrow possibilities of how and what teachers might learn in relation to their work.

The study, reported on in this presentation, traced teachers’ descriptions of the complex interactions revealed when they were asked to talk about a time when they knew they had ‘really’ learned something about their teaching work through to the evidence they demonstrated of how such learning had transformed their practice. Analysis of the teachers’ stories of learning was informed by Bakhtin’s (1986) dialogism and Smith’s (2005) approach to mapping social and textual relations. Comparison of these maps speaks to the variability of experiences that support teacher learning for transformed practice. It also reveals the ways in which those acting in the role of  ‘professional learning architect’ created the spaces of possibility in which such transformative learning occurred. These spaces of resistance or possibility can be likened to ‘everyday utopias’; while they do not provide a blueprint for action they do provide concrete imaginings of how teacher learning might occur in ways ‘other’ to those governed by accountability regimes.