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Teacher Subject Identity in Professional Practice : Teaching With a Professional Compass (Paperback)

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This book outlines an important, but neglected, dimension of teacher’s professional practice: that of their subject identity and expertise. It argues that viewing subject identity and expertise through the lens of a ‘professional compass’ enables a nuanced way of understanding teachers’ professional practice and decision making. Such an approach helps us to understand how teachers respond to changing educational policies and trends in a variety of contexts.

Drawing upon narrative research undertaken with geography teachers, subject expertise is shown to play a significant role in teacher identity and professional practice, acting as a ‘professional compass’ and guiding their practice at the micro, meso and macro scale. The professional compass enables teachers to consider the moral (and not just instrumental) dimensions of their practice, and should constitute a significant component in their professional formation and identity.

The book is divided into three parts:

  • an outline of the conceptual framework, introducing the idea of the professional compass and how it operates

  • empirical data from a range of teachers and how they use their professional compass at a variety of scales

  • an exploration of the implications of the professional compass for understanding teachers’ professional work.

The emphasis on the ‘professional compass’ goes to the heart of teacher professionalism and provides a valuable mechanism to enable teachers to respond to the neo-liberal agenda in education. The book will be key reading for teacher educators, policy makers and researchers with an interest in professional development and practice.

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