Masters of their time?: time and teachers in an education policy context
2005 (English)In: The 11nd European Conference on Educational Research, Dublin, 2005Conference paper (Other academic)
Teacher policies and the working condition of teachers have been paid attention to in several recent international inquiries and research projects. For example, the OECD project Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers (OECD 2005) aimed at identifying "innovative and successful policy initiatives and practices" by analysing recruitment and working condition of teachers in 25 countries. In a recent Eurydice project (2003, 2004) the attractiveness, distinctive features and occupational content of the teaching profession in 30 European countries were studied. Also a Nordic research project on restructuring of education and teacher professionalism (Carlgren et.al. 2002) may be mentioned here. Such research clearly shows that global changes of teacher work have taken place during the 1990s and early 2000s, changes which are closely related to new demands on education - the demands of global economy for mobile, flexible and highly qualified workforce, and national, regional and local endeavours to promote economic growth and competetiveness. In the educational sphere the responsebility to realise such aims to a high extent is deployed to schools, principals and teachers, which are supposed to act autonomously and efficiently in order to attain the educational objectives. The "new teacher role" includes teamwork, individualisation, pupil-active teaching methods, and, increasingly, activities outside the classroom such as planning, documentation and evaluation. Teacher work seems to be characterised by less distinct boundaries between subject categories and teacher/staff categories. The matter of power and control over teachers´ working time is however rather complex. On the one hand, a gradual deregulation and decentralisation of decisions concerning school hours and teachers´ working time has taken place, e.g. in Sweden, allowing for increased local autonomy. Here, both politicians, the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and teacher unions have been in favour of this development. On the other hand increased work load and financial cuts put severe strain on teacher time (c.f Hargreaves 1994). Obsolete regulations of teaching and teacher hours may act "from behind" and preserve old power relations and time organisation. Also, as e.g. Andy Hargreaves (1994) correctly has underlined, teachers and administrators/decision-makers, respectively, may have quite different time perspectives. Against this background, the paper highlights and critically analyses the power and control over teachers´ working time. A Swedish experiment aiming at more flexible time use and school development is presented and discussed as an example (c.f. Nyroos et.al. 2004). The Swedish case is compared and contrasted to recent policies and change of teachers´ working conditions in other European countries. The discussion of the Swedish case is based on analysis of agreements and political documents, interviews with teacher union representatives and teachers participating in the experiment where schools are allowed to set aside the regulation of the national time schedule.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-15845OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-15845DiVA: diva2:155517
The 11nd European Conference on Educational Research, Dublin, 2005