What Counts as Expert Practice? A Discursive Analysis of Experienced Teachers’ Perceptions

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In 2015 for the first time in England, school-based initial teacher training recruited more students than universities did. It is asserted that SBITT “will raise the quality and status of the teaching profession, better recognising advanced subject knowledge and pedagogy that is rooted in up to date evidence” (DfE, 2016, p.13). As a consequence, schools and teachers are gaining more power to control and decide about the future of initial teacher training (ITT). However, this assumes that teachers possess a homogeneous and adequate expertise to train the teachers of the future. A discourse analysis of perceptions of experienced primary teachers in the north of England was conducted to gain understanding of their conceptions of the expertise required for practice. Data suggests that expert teaching is a controversial term without an essential meaning. Neoliberal transactional discourses are being internalised in tension with the existing romantic and craftsmanship discourses. Interestingly, teaching conceptualised as a systematic inquiry was not found among experienced teachers’ discourses. Lewin’s (1945, p. 129) dictum that ‘there’s nothing so practical as a good theory’ seems ignored by teachers and policy makers: “teaching is a craft and it’s best learnt as an apprentice observing a master craftsman” (Gove, 2010). It could be argued that current discourses lead to a deintellectualisation of teaching that will impoverish teachers’ preparedness and the school system. This research suggests that ITT programmes should (1) incorporate discourses of teaching as a professional endeavour and (2) promote the appraisal of attributes of teachers´ self as professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSearch and Research
Subtitle of host publicationTeacher Education for Contemporary Contexts
EditorsJuanjo Mena, Ana García-Valcárcel, Francisco José García-Peńalvo, Marta Martín-delPozo
Place of PublicationSalamanca
PublisherUniversidad de Salamanca
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9788490127698
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event18th Biennial Conference on Teachers and Teaching - University of Salamancia, Salamancia, Spain
Duration: 3 Jul 20177 Jul 2017
Conference number: 18


Conference18th Biennial Conference on Teachers and Teaching
Abbreviated titleISAAT 2017
Internet address


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