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The basic professional knowledge of teachers and suborganizational transformation processes of external pressure?


Academic year: 2022

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The basic professional knowledge of teachers and

suborganizational transformation processes of external pressure?

Ass. Prof. Ph.d. Jens H. Lund, Docent, Ph.d. Steen Juul Hansen, Ass. Prof. Peter Hougaard Madsen

Via University College, Dep. of Teacher Education, Denmark



• Focus

• Research question

• Categories of knowledge

• Why?

• Methods

• Provisional results

• A model as frame for actions


Model 1. Research Focus


Reseach question

Which practices in the formal fora on the

suborganizational level in schools can secure and support that basic professional knowledge of

teachers plays a central role when external

pressure are transformed in these fora?


Type Characteristics Function

1. Global knowledge - Educational research

 Empirical

 Systematic

 Generalized globally

 De-contextual

Inspiring – calling for processes of contextualizing and ‘translation’ to local situation and conditions

2. Local knowledge - knowledge of local experiences

 Empirical and closely connected to the single school/teacher, a concrete group of pupils etc.

 Based on and connected to experiences, traditions, routines

 Unsystematic as well as systematic

Informing the concrete and single action – knowledge of handling the situation

3. Basic professional knowledge

 Theoretical, philosophical Delivers professional criteria and thereby potential critique.

Offers categories, systemization, analytical distance, perspectives, and contributes to basic professional reflections, expands approaches

3.1 Pedagogical

Aiming at the question of the education of the child,

purpose of the school with sub-categories like:

 Ideal of bildung

 View of human/child’s nature

 View of society/school in society

 Ethics, values

 View of knowledge

3.2 Didactical

Concerning teaching and learning and the sub-categories:

 Aim

 Content

 Methods

 Evaluation

 Learning processes

 The qualifications and potentials of the pupils

 Frames/ressources

4. None categorized knowledge?

 Circular?

 Private knowledge?

• ?


Ball (2012)

Ball (2012: 10-11):

Policy enactment (and any other kind of external pressure, JHL) is inflected by competing sets of values and ethics, but perhaps surprisingly, certainly surprisingly to us, there is a dearth of values-talk in our data. (..) values and principles (..) are glimsed fleetingly asides in the interview. (..)

This version of effectiveness works within a disciplinary infrastructure of targets, benchmarks, league tables, averages and inspections that work to overwhelm or displace values and principles. (..) It is often the case that

ethical-democratic concerns come into play only weakly over and against and

within the interpretation and enactment of policy.


The situation that Ball descripes we recognize in our data

• Values and principles constitutionalized in the basic professional knowledge are marginalized

• Concious orientation towards knowledge, use

and construction of knowledge in practice is a

possible strategy towards professionalization



• Action research project

• At one school – so far…

• Aug. 2014 – aug. 2017

• Observations

• Interview

• Participant logs

• Research logs

• Analyzing documents

• Developing actions

• Based on Danish empirical studies:

• Hansen, S. J. (2009): Bureaukrati, faglige metoder eller tommelfingerregler, AU

• Lund, Jens H. (2012): Nye styringsformer i folkeskolen: ph.d.-afhandling, AU/IUP

• Schmidt, C (2013): Vidensudveksling og daginstitutionsarbejde sat på manual, Frydenlund, p. 185-204


Provisional results

• The unsystematic ‘local’ knowledge is nearly totally dominant.

• If basic professional knowledge is somehow playing a role it happens by coincidence.

• If basic professional knowledge is involved, it often appears in linguistic disguise: basic professional knowledge are hidden in or expressed via everyday life language. We also see examples where basic professional knowledge and arguments are not recognized as such by the teachers themselves.

• Global knowledge is very seldom invited – there is no established practice for this orientation

• A drift toward routinization of (Berger/Luckmann) teaching is

transforming practice in the formal fora in a very dominant



Categories of organizational strategies identified in Ontario -a pilot study, May 2015

Based only on three interviews with school leaders:

1. An exstrem case

Internal organizational procedures


External cooperation

Dr. Eric Jackmann Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, interview: VP Richard Messina http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/ics/Laboratory_School/index.html

2. Focus on curriculum

Frames for teamplanning – pedagogical and didactical agendas

Secord Primary School, interview: P. Lisa Moser http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/secord/Home.aspx

3. Focus on teacher competences

Leader feed back

Cooperation, reflection

George Webster Elementary School, interview, P. Pividor Kimberley http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/georgewebster/home.aspx



• Ball, J. S. Maguire, M. and Braun, A. (2012): How Schools do policy – policy enactments in secondary schools, Routledge

• Berger, P.L. and Luckmann, T. (1966): The social construction of reality, Anchor Books, US

• Scott, W. Richard (2008): Institutions and Organizations, Third Edition, Sage Publications, International Educational and professional Publisher, Thousand Oaks, London.

• Weick, K, E (1993):Reprinted from The Collapse of Sensemaking in Organizations: The Mann Gulch Disaster by Karl E. Weick published in Administrative Science Quarterly. Volume 38, (1993): 628-652 by permission of Administrative Science Quarterly. ©

1993 by Cornell University 0001-8392/93/3804-0628.

• Weick, K. E. (1995): Sensemaking in organizations, SAGE Publications, Inc.

• Weick, K. E. (2001): Making sense of the organization, Blackwell Publishing

• Weick, K. E. og Sutcliffe, K. M. og Obstfeld (2005): Organizing and the Process of

Sensemaking, in Organization Science, vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 409-421



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