The management of staff development in a contracting education service : a case study
This investigation represents a search for an alternative to the
bureaucratic model of career development and addresses the question: how
during a period of period of contraction in the education service with
associated diminished opportunities for career advancement, do teachers
become commi t ted to a schoo I' s work and va lues. The case study was made
during a two year period in a secondary school, in which the researcher was
headmaster, when the school was undergoing contraction in the mid 1980s due
to demographic trends. Its focus is a bounded group of teachers in midcareer
who, during a period of low morale and conflicted industrial
relations, became engaged in curriculum development for low ability pupils.
Staff development is presented as personal and social reconstruction and
interest centres on latent social processes and the interactional
behaviours of the participants. Attention is directed towards the cultural
meaning that spatial and temporal contexts hold and the modes of
interaction they invoke. Two broad principles, of bureaucratization and of
humanization, are identified, and an attempt is made to uncover moments of
social time when conditions are particularly conducive to personal growth.
This leads to a fuller exploration of the concept of teacher commitment,
extending beyond its calculative or instrumental aspects, to consider its
emotional and evaluative components, thus transferring the discussion from
issues solely of role to those of social relationships and personal
Thus, its contribution to research derives from the deeper insights it
provides into teacher motivation and social process in schools. These are
considered from the standpoint of the insider and, as such, complement
other school ethnographies made by the professional social scientist.
Methodological issues of insider research have been addressed, and its
special strengths and weaknesses considered. In particular, categories
drawn from the tradi tion of social anthropology have been used to render
strange the familiar world of schools, and non-probability sampling has
been adopted to penetrate its opaqueness.