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Teachers’ professionalism, self-identity and the impact of continuing professional development (CPD).

Jones, Dawn Anita (2015) Teachers’ professionalism, self-identity and the impact of continuing professional development (CPD). Doctoral thesis (EdD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This research explores the impact of changes in government policy on teachers’ professionalism, self-identity and practice in the context of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Initial data was gathered through the use of evaluations, impact data and interviews from conferences and courses undertaken as part of professional development programmes. This data provided a range of background information which then informed a second stage of research where in-depth case studies of three secondary school science teachers was conducted. Thus the first stage data helped identify, and focus the later research themes and questions. The case-study research consists of semi-structured interviews which explores the contexts, experiences and viewpoints of the three teachers involved. This research draws attention to the potential damage being done to teachers’ professionalism and self-identity as a result of central government policy, and the impact that this has on their ability to carry out their roles effectively. It also considers the extent to which teachers’ professionalism is influenced by the process of engaging with CPD. This research adds knowledge to the field through the provision of a fresh perspective, from the teachers’ viewpoint, in the field of research of teacher professionalism and that of teachers CPD. The research gives teachers a forum within which to voice their thoughts and share their concerns about the struggles they face, and the conflicts they experience between their personal values and pressures to conform. At the heart of the problem, encountered by teachers, is the fact that professional standards and CPD activities predominately focus on the behavioural component of professionalism. The failure to consider the teachers’ intellectual or attitudinal development is what threatened their identities, ideologies and aspirations to meet their goals. It also affects the way they felt about themselves and education as a whole. An alternative model to illustrate effective professional development is proposed as a consequence of this research which highlights the complexities of the processes and practices affecting teachers’ engagement with CPD and the potential for external policies to impact adversely on classroom practices.

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