The impact of policy upon practice: An Australian study of teachers' professional development

Ian Hardy

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    11 Citations (Scopus)
    30 Downloads (Pure)


    This paper presents a case study of the sociological effects of two Australian educational policies ' one federal and one state ' upon the professional development practices supported by a group of teachers and administrators working together across a cluster of six schools in a rural community in south-east Queensland, Australia. The paper draws upon Pierre Bourdieu's concept of 'fields', and recent extensions of this theory, to show how policy tensions between managerial and democratic approaches to professional development played out in practice. Data sources included transcripts of monthly meetings, interviews, and observations of the group and the activities they organised within the cluster. The data show that policy pressures to engage rapidly in a complex reform agenda ultimately militated against policy support for more context-specific, long-term, inquiry-based, collaborative professional development practices. Understanding how policy tensions influence practice is necessary for the design and implementation of more effective policy interventions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-114
    Number of pages12
    JournalTeacher Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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