Publication Date

2012

Abstract

This chapter takes up the theme of professionalism and performativity (in Theme 1 of this Handbook) by considering the politics of teachers’ continuing professional learning (CPL) in the Asia-Pacific region. We draw on three government initiatives related to continuing professional learning, in New Zealand, Australia and Vietnam, to examine the changing functions of CPL and the forms it takes within the rapidly changing knowledge landscape of teachers and teaching. Our central thesis is that governments are increasingly attempting to construct the world of teachers and learners in ways that do not resonate with the professional knowledge of teachers. Governments and teaching professions negotiate this knowledge politics in ways that drive the patterns and politics of educational work, creating both tensions and opportunities. By drawing on examples from the three countries, we aim to document this growing imbalance of power between government and teaching professions and also suggest ways in which knowledge building might be used to turn this politics in ways that could help to reassert occupational license (the permission to carry on certain activities) and mandate (the elbow room while doing the work). The chapter is organized into three main sections. We begin by elaborating the conceptual

framework that informs our analysis, drawing on global policy research. We then profile each of the national cases and discuss the way they illustrate the contemporary use of knowledge in educational work. These ‘snapshots’ of initiatives in CPL from each site show the way the knowledge of teachers is being appropriated, not only to govern the process of professional knowledge production but to govern teachers’ day-to-day work in the Asia-Pacific region. Finally, we draw out our key conclusions and their implications for professional learning by discussing how teachers can develop understandings about how professional knowledge itself is produced and circulated, how particular forms of CPL can create the conditions for the profession to build knowledge and take action, and the reality that governments must ultimately endorse and support the professions who deliver the services that governments wish to provide.

Document Type

Book Chapter

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