Teacher's professional judgement of mandated changes

Year: 2001

Author: Edwards, Brian

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The role teacher's play in the implementation of mandated systemic reform is broadly recognised as crucial. Recent studies have indicated a shift in the role of Governments wishing to reform elements of their educational systems, a role which has been characterised as shifting the responsibility for reform to the school site but little of the authority or choice of accountability procedures. Teachers are increasingly faced with demands from central authorities, which require them to surrender their professional judgement in favour of a technician's role; being told what to do and doing it without question (Soucek, 1997; Reid, 1998; Smyth, 1998; Irwin, 1999; Miller, 2000). This paper will draw on a case from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal where the professional judgement of four child protection workers led them to object to the Kennett Government's policies in the Victorian Department of Human services (Mottram, 2000). It will also draw upon a case study of some twenty English teachers responding to the mandated Curriculum and Standards Framework in Victoria. It is hoped this paper raises important questions concerning the role of teachers in determining what is important knowledge and what happens to Government policy mandates when they enter the schools.