Teachers Resisting ‘Accountability' Agendas: Tracing Stories of Transformative Learning

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:40
Location: Hörsaal 6C P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Debra TALBOT, University of Sydney, Australia
This presentation describes methods employed to produce ‘informant specific maps’ (ISM) in relation to teachers’ stories about their professional learning. The production and use of ‘individual’ maps represents a variation on the way ‘mapping’ has generally been used by institutional ethnographers. A dialogic analysis (Bakhtin, 1986) of research conversations and teacher-provided evidence of learning made apparent the extent of variation in teachers’ learning about their work. It revealed the existence of both centralising, hegemonic discourses associated with a managerial agenda and contextualised, heterogeneous discourses supportive of transformative learning. It also revealed the uneven influence of extralocally produced governing texts on both the locally produced texts and the ‘doings’ of individual teachers. As such, it was difficult to imagine that taking ‘schooling’ in general, or even each school context as the institutional focus would allow for the production of a single map to represent the social relations governing teachers’ learning.

From these informant specific maps, we can however, begin to observe some broad patterns in relation to the coordination of teacher professional learning both within a given context and from one context to another, for example, the presence of ‘professional learning architects’ (PLA) in each context. The PLA played a critical role in ‘activating’ the governing texts in such a way as to allow teachers to resist the accountability agenda associated with professional standards and accreditation that often serve to narrow opportunities for transformative learning. As with the dialogic analysis of the interview transcripts, the approach to the maps reflects a desire to ‘stay close’ to the participants as individuals while at the same time opening up the uniqueness of each of their complex experiences to better understand how a managerial agenda might be resisted in the interest of transformative learning.