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The role of 'Autonomy' in teaching expertise

Bucelli, Irene (2017) The role of 'Autonomy' in teaching expertise. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 51 (3). pp. 588-604. ISSN 0309-8249

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1467-9752.12252


Debates around the effects of ‘new public measures’ emphasise changes to teachers’ practices, role and expertise. While critics lament a ‘deprofessionalisation’ of teaching, in some countries, such as England, the current rhetoric stresses the government’s trust in teachers and talk of ‘professional autonomy’ has come to the forefront. In light of this, a more rigorous understanding of the role of autonomy in teaching expertise seems necessary. This paper asks whether the notion of autonomy is significant to teachers’ roles and activities, and explores how autonomy bears on our conception of teaching expertise. The first part of the paper clarifies the very conception of autonomy that is employed in much philosophical discussion. I will argue that the notion of autonomy is problematic: it conflates rather different psychological, phenomenological and normative elements. When we clarify these ideas we can see how some of these aspects are in fact extremely relevant to our conception of the role of teachers and to our understanding of teaching practice. In the second part of the paper, these concepts are employed to clarify public debates surrounding teachers’ autonomy, comparing England and Scotland. I will claim that the kinds of knowledge and abilities constituting teaching expertise depend on our understanding of the role of teachers within an educational system and in relation to educational aims. This, in turn, has consequences for the way in which teaching expertise can be developed and/or hindered through policy.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2017 The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain.
Divisions: CPNSS
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2017 10:36
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:36

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