Teacher professional development as an effect of policy and practice: A Bourdieuian Analysis

Ian Hardy, Bob Lingard

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper draws on Bourdieu's field theory and related concepts of habitus and capitals, to explore policy implementation in relation to a particular case of teacher professional development in Queensland, Australia. This implementation process is described as an effect of the interplay between what is called the policy field and the field of teachers' work. The policy field demonstrates intra-field tensions between the federal Quality Teacher Programme (QTP) and a raft of state policies, particularly those associated with the Queensland meta-policy, Queensland State Education 2010 (QSE2010). To investigate the effects of this complex policy ensemble, the paper draws upon the experiences of principals and a group of teachers engaged in professional development across a cluster of six schools in south-east Queensland, Australia . The specific focus is on the 'Curriculum Board', a cross-school body created by the principals in the participating schools, and its mediated work in policy implementation and teacher learning. The paper analyses the effects of the involvement of the principals in the creation of the Board, the limiting impact of QTP requirements to involve consultants rather than support for teacher release, and the limited influence of the Board on teacher learning and policy implementation in the individual schools. By doing so, the analysis shows the disjunctions between the logics of practice of the policy field and that of teachers' work, and the ways in which the differing habitus of principals and teachers and teacher members of the Board affected teacher learning and policy implementation. It is argued that effective implementation requires learning within and across fields, and more reflexive habitus of policy makers, principals and teachers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-80
    Number of pages18
    JournalJournal of Education Policy
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    Dive into the research topics of 'Teacher professional development as an effect of policy and practice: A Bourdieuian Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this