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Continuing professional development (CPD) policy and the discourse of teacher professionalism in Scotland

Kennedy, Aileen (2007) Continuing professional development (CPD) policy and the discourse of teacher professionalism in Scotland. Research Papers in Education, 22 (1). pp. 95-111. ISSN 0267-1522

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Abstract

The dynamic nature and multiple interpretations of professionalism make any analysis of it as a static, homogenous concept somewhat difficult. Much of the existing body of literature, which explores professionalism from a traditional sociological perspective, is now being challenged by developing concepts of professionalism that support particular political agendas. Contemporary writers prominent in the field of teacher professionalism appear to be highlighting two contrasting models. While these are defined slightly differently and attributed different names according to particular writers, broadly speaking they equate to a managerial perspective and a democratic perspective. In this paper an analysis of contemporary conceptions of professionalism from literature is presented, and then used in interpreting the discourse evident through a range of public documents on CPD for teachers in Scotland. The paper suggests that the democratic, transformative view of professionalism promoted in much of the recent literature, while reflected in some of the rhetoric surrounding Scottish CPD policy, is not as apparent in real terms. In conclusion it is suggested that there is a need for all stakeholders to interrogate CPD policy more rigorously in order that the underlying conceptions of professionalism can be made explicit.