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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Constructing the Space for Professional Action: A Case Study of Professionalism in Education
Author(s): Massey, Alan G.
Supervisor(s): Biesta, Gert
Keywords: Professionalism
Case study
Tools for professional development
Thematic analysis
Issue Date: Oct-2010
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This research seeks to understand the perceptions of professionalism in education. In particular it focuses on the constructions of the space for professional action. A case study focuses on people, including teachers and non-teachers, who work in a special school for young people with SEBD. The perceptions of professionalism in education held by those in this case have been carefully listened to and analysed. Using an interpretive approach I have analysed data from interviews of members of the case. This reveals that a common language is used to describe professionalism but this is not commonly defined. There is an assumption that all share a common definition. In addition, other factors affect professional action. The experiences and life trajectories of the respondents are seen to colour and shape professional action. The construction of the space for professional action is problematic. There is a wide range of definition. The findings reveal that professionalism is complex and common language hides a wide spectrum of definition and meaning. Professionalism, as a concept, is often confused and misused. Foregrounding these confusions have contributed to the understanding of professionalism. There is tension between the constructions of professionalism. The person trying to enact professionalism in education has to interpret, sometimes incongruent, discourses and locate themselves within persuasive discourses. Awareness of these differences and tensions can help understand and allow them to make their own choices. The development of typologies as an analysis tool has been effective in understanding the space for professional action in this case. It is suggested that this might be used as a basis for professional discussion for others who are engaging in development in their own context. Professionalism in education is important as this impacts on the performance of each person and this performance effects the young people. It is argued that people trying to enact it should engage in professional discussion and agreement making to establish what is good and worthwhile in professionalism.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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