“The impact of managerialism upon the professional representations of Portuguese teachers: challenges to their social mission”
ISA Interim Conference of Professional Groups (RC52) - “Challenging Professionalism: New Directions in Policies, Publics and the Professions, ISEG, Lisbon, 28- 30 November 2013
Under pretext of promoting a new professionalism, teachers’ work is increasingly treated by educational policy as its instrument. In Portugal recent reforms of teachers’ careers and austerity have exacerbated this tendency. To a large extent the “classical” model of professionalism has thus been reconfigured at the expense of teachers’ professional autonomies. This new professionalism from the outside spawned a professional movement that reaffirmed the social mission of the teaching profession by simultaneously defending its public service values and teachers’ professional status. Using a combination of qualitative and extensive methodologies, this paper reports research on these influences upon teacher professionalism as expressed by teachers and their unions. While teachers tend to express humanistic professional values akin to functionalist notions of professionalism, which tend to align with unions’ discourses, they also vacillate between demanding respect for their professional competences (required for providing a quality public service) and rejecting their treatment as mere civil servants. Moreover, the pressures towards greater standardization and control of teachers’ work, while sparking their resentment, make resistance difficult, which leads either to accommodation or adjustment to a more technical and instrumental professionalism. Ironically this trend belies the declared reformist goals of quality in detriment to efficiency.
teachers’ professionalism, teachers’ professional identities, new professionalism