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Teacher professional standards and accountability are today writ large on the landscape of both schooling and teacher education practice around the world. This paper explores some of the related debates through a discussion of four discourses on teacher professional standards: namely, discourses of commonsense, professionalism and quality, managerialism/performativity, and strategic manoeuvring. It is argued that each of these discourses legitimises particular understandings of standards and quality, illustrating the competing set of lenses through which they are viewed, as well as the broader ideologies from which they emerge, including neoliberalism and technical rationality. These discourses also represent the interpretive practice that characterise a context in which teacher professional standards are being entrenched and institutionalised through policy design and accountability processes. In analysing these discourses, a number of questions emerge, primary amongst which is the issue of the unintended consequences of a focus on standards, some of which may act to inadvertently mask other ‘quality’ matters.


School of Education

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access

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Education Commons