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The Context of Teacher Professionalism: A Case Study of Teacher Perceptions of Professionalism at the University Laboratory School.

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Title:The Context of Teacher Professionalism: A Case Study of Teacher Perceptions of Professionalism at the University Laboratory School.
Authors:Capen, Stephanie M.
Contributors:Education (department)
Date Issued:May 2017
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:The nature of teacher professionalism has been both widely discussed and heavily
contested over the last few decades. The systemic educational reform that has overtaken
America’s schools has entrenched public education in bureaucratic structures, emphasized
standards, assessment, and accountability, and consequently redefined the nature of teacher
professionalism. Problems of practice and curriculum have been replaced with problems of data
and measurements for success. Coinciding with the accountability movement is the emergence of
charter schools from the starkly different contexts of both neoliberal ideology and progressive
education. Despite the substantive discourse on teacher professionalism, limited research has
been done with regard to teachers’ perceptions of professionalism, particularly research in the
form of qualitative studies attending to this topic. This paper will describe the findings of a
qualitative case study exploring the phenomenon of teacher professionalism as it emerges within
a charter school context. Drawing from both survey and interview data collected from teachers at
the charter school, this study presents three major findings. First, the teachers in the case study
describe professionalism as going beyond “doing one’s job.” Second, teacher decision making
with regard to matters of curriculum and instruction occur entirely in relation to the best interest
of the students. Third, leadership orientation and trust contribute to teachers’ sense of
professionalism, as well as their ability to enact their conceptions of professionalism. These
findings, coupled with the literature suggest that there are multiple contexts in which
professionalism is situated, and through which educational reform targeting teacher
professionalism must be filtered. Finally, this paper will describe implications and raise
additional questions based on the findings, for teacher education programs, teachers’ unions,
professional development, and education reform.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2017.
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Education

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