Professionalism and autonomy : the case of teachers' in-service training 1988-92
This thesis provides a sociological analysis of the in-service training (INSET) of teachers in England between 1988 and 1992, to explore issues concerning the professionalism and autonomy of teachers. Sociologists of education have produced numerous explanations of educational phenomena, and evaluation studies reveal much about INSET. Yet there remains the task of developing sociological explanations in this field. As an especially dynamic phase, the period designated merits detailed study. Teachers' professional development is conceptualized in three ways: in relation to change in the education system, to the place of teaching as a profession, and in terms of professional learning. National INSET schemes implicitly threatened teacher autonomy, yet professionalism could be redefined at the micro- level, and this study therefore addresses macro- and micro-sociological issues. The empirical research concentrates with increasing intensity on school-focused INSET experiences, through data from documentary sources, in-depth interviews, and participant observation. Chapter 1 explains the rationale for the investigation and demarcates the field of study. Chapter 2 outlines the background to the Local Education Authority Training Grant Scheme and similar initiatives. Chapter 3 sets out the sociological basis for the analysis of INSET phenomena. Methodological issues are addressed in Chapter 4, including the choice of case studies, the challenges of re-analyzing data and the criteria for selecting cases. The analysis presents a macro-sociological perspective in Chapter 5, then examines how national and LEA priorities are implemented in schools in Chapter 6. Micro-level case studies explore specific aspects of INSET: across different phases in Chapter 7 and on using information technology in Chapter 8. Chapter 9 investigates INSET for art. Chapter 10 summarizes the ways this thesis contributes to knowledge about the professionalism and autonomy of teachers through the study of INSET during a critical period. It reviews the application of the theoretical approach and points to areas for further research.