Locating Teacher Professionalism: agential spaces

Poster presentation at Institute of Education BERA meeting 12th July 2013

Presentation at Huddersfield practitioners conference 28th June 2013

To locate the professionalism of lecturers working in post compulsory education and training, I draw on a threefold conception of space.  I acknowledge that while teachers have become highly skilled in negotiating the social field between professional aspiration and embodiment, after successive waves of education reform, their scope for manoeuvrability has been reduced  from strategic compliance to tactical resistance. The (un)closed door of the classroomis now their only identifiable locus of control. However, presenting the classroom in such diminutive terms rests on a particular taken-for-granted conception of space as absolute, fixed and objective. Drawing on the work of social and cultural geography,  I analyse user generated content in two contemporaneous on-line spaces, one in the UK and theother in the USA.  This written talk-in-interaction – based on two distinct acts of resistance amongst teachers  – suggests that teacher professionalism may be located within the physical or symbolic space of the classroom if this space isunderstood as open, porous and connected. Explored for what they indicate about teacher professionalism (rather than the substantive issue under discussion), my analysis of this written talk-in-interaction data argues that resistance – far from being futile, ‘quaint or ridiculous’ – enables teachers to engage in a ‘critical ontology of the self’. Behind the (un)closed door of the classroom, in these online space for resistance, teachers articulate a distinct professionalism in the process of paying attention to and caring for their individual and collective selves. In this caring they explore: how they are constituted as objects and subjects of knowledge; how they act upon and are acted upon by others; and how they might constitute themselves differently as particular types of subjects.

This is the podcast that accompanied the poster and this is the Prezi: Locating Professionalism


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