Continuing professional learning in the Asia-Pacific region

Tensions and opportunities in teacher knowledge and the governance of education

Authored by: Joce Nuttall , Terri Seddon , Hien T. T. Phan

Routledge International Handbook of Teacher and School Development

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  June  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415669702
eBook ISBN: 9780203815564
Adobe ISBN: 9781136715976


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This chapter takes up the theme of professionalism and performativity (in Theme 1 of this Handbook) by considering the politics of teachers’ continuing professional learning (CPL) in the Asia-Pacific region. We draw on three government initiatives related to continuing professional learning, in New Zealand, Australia and Vietnam, to examine the changing functions of CPL and the forms it takes within the rapidly changing knowledge landscape of teachers and teaching. Our central thesis is that governments are increasingly attempting to construct the world of teachers and learners in ways that do not resonate with the professional knowledge of teachers. Governments and teaching professions negotiate this knowledge politics in ways that drive the patterns and politics of educational work, creating both tensions and opportunities. By drawing on examples from the three countries, we aim to document this growing imbalance of power between government and teaching professions and also suggest ways in which knowledge building might be used to turn this politics in ways that could help to reassert occupational license (the permission to carry on certain activities) and mandate (the elbow room while doing the work).

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