It’s refreshing to see BELMAS through its Critical Education Policy and Leadership SIG taking a close look at professionalism. Professionalism is the concept most often left out of the school leadership literature, in my opinion; leading schools and teachers is leading a professional organisation and professionals. What are the implications of that? Answering this question, I think, takes the educational leadership field into some promising directions. For one thing, it brings the public responsibilities of schools and teachers into the picture as well as the kinds of relationships schools build with families and communities. For another, it brings both the specialist knowledge, claims to relative autonomy, and deep responsibility to work for the public good into focus at the level of the individual teacher. Leading and managing teachers should be a highly distinctive activity and not that amenable to generic models of either supposedly ‘scientific’ management or ‘visionary’ leadership.
The forum on Practice and Professionalism will take place in London on 30 November from 12 to 5.30pm, with a range of speakers from universities, schools, unions and other organisations. Full details and registration options can be found here.
I’ll be talking early in the afternoon about the concept of profession in relation to teaching, the risks of fetishizing leadership or regarding it as the inevitable solution (regardless of the problem), and the links to teacher development. I’ll be referring to previous work on ‘professional creativity’ and ‘Teacher Development 3.0’, some of which is available in the Articles, Chapters and Books sections of this website.