Browsing Education by Publisher "Taylor and Francis Ltd."
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Contested territories: English teachers in Australia and England remaining resilient and creative in constraining timesGlobally teachers are experiencing reductions to their autonomy and constraints on their professional practice through legislative impositions of limiting standards, external testing and narrowing curricula. This study explores the ways English educators find a balance between these external expectations, contemporary pressures, professional aspirations, and personal values. It was a qualitative investigation into the perceptions shared by thirty-three English teachers from New South Wales, Australia and across England. A significant gap now exists between the ways English teachers conceive their subject, their purposes and the nature of their work, and that determined by regulation, formalised curriculum and accreditation requirements. The enduring resilience of these teachers is revealed but also the corrosive structural effects produced by narrowly focused, neoliberal policies especially in relation to high stakes testing. However, the research demonstrates how certain English teachers remain remarkably resilient–retaining autonomy where they can–and we define this attribute as ‘adaptive agency’.
The invisible plan: how English teachers develop their expertise and the special place of adapting the skills of lesson planningThis paper analyses how English teachers learn to become expert designers of learning and why sharing that expertise is increasingly vital. Its conceptual framework is the widely recognised, empirically tested, five-stage developmental Dreyfus model of skill acquisition, exemplifying the development of teacher expertise, constituted by the “milestone” [m] and “transitory” [t] phases connecting with the five stages of: Novice [m], Advanced Beginner [t], Competent [m], Proficient [t] and Expert [m]. Teacher planning is analysed as one key tacit or non-tangible component of developing expertise. Focusing specifically on English teachers as key participants in this pioneer teacher cognition study, the defining characteristics of milestone stages of expertise development are explored with specific attention to the remarkably under-researched area of planning. We introduce three new categories, defining modes of planning: (i) visible practical planning, (ii) external reflective planning and (iii) internal reflective planning, demonstrating their role in teacher development through the Dreyfus five stages. English is a subject which suffers from frequent disruptive changes to curriculum and assessment: new learning designs are constantly demanded, making planning an ongoing challenge. The implications for practice include the importance of an explicit understanding of how teachers’ planning moves through the three phases from the very “visible” novice phase to the internal relatively “automatic” competent teacher and finally the seemingly “invisible” expert phase. Further research is needed to explore how English teachers can share planning expertise between the three phases to improve teachers’ skills and student learning.