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Professional Life and Work

Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe

Developing a Conceptual Framework for Understanding

England poses an interesting case given the historical periods and trajectories we have evidenced earlier. One of the countries to build up a strong welfare state after 1945, England became a leader in neo-liberal restructuring initiatives aimed at trans­forming, if not dismantling, this welfare system. In Sweden and Finland the welfare system has proved more durable and politically sustainable. Hence both the Swedish and Finnish studies show how restructuring has been contested and often, if attemp­ted, sidestepped by professionalism.

‘The slogan personality is the most important instrument of work is pre­dominant among Finnish teachers, indeed the practicing teachers emphasise that the long science-based teacher education, except practical training periods, provides only a theoretical foundation for professional work. For them the most important source of knowledge is the practical activities, common sense, everyday experiences and learning by doing. In addition, personal hobbies and activities outside the school are valued as well. Indeed according to some recent studies the opportunities to draw on personal interests and to exercise independent judgement are among the most important motivations for being a teacher’.

This example is common in the established welfare societies of Sweden and Finland as they once were in England. The belief in professional autonomy as motivation and creative leaves loosely-coupled or decoupled restructuring strategies. Significantly Finland, where professional autonomy is deeply entrenched and restructuring policies least intensive, produces highly successful educational indicators. This appears to be an efficient and motivated professional system which builds on a belief in professional expertise, judgement and commitment. Without these elements it is difficult to see restructuring working smoothly however intensive and politically promoted it might be.

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Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe
  • Date of publication: 01/01/2010
  • Number of pages (as Word doc): 124
  • Publisher: Sense Publishers
  • Co-author: Goodson, I. F., & Lindblad, S. (Eds.)
  • Subject:
    Professional Life and Work
  • Available in:
  • Appears in:
    Professional Knowledge and Educational Restructuring in Europe
  • Number of editions: 1
  • Paperback
  • Price of book: $39
  • ISBN: 978-94-6091-377-8
  • Buy used and new from: Amazon uk