Performativity and the demise of the teaching profession: The need for rebalancing in Australia

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Serious damage to teacher professionalism is being triggered by the current performance dominated culture caused by neoliberal global conditions (performativity) in Australian schools. Many teachers are feeling severely compromised in their ability to offer quality teaching to their students. It is imperative that education policy makers and school leaders are informed on the latest research and literature around this topic. This will help to instigate plans to move forward in a more positive way. This paper explores the relationships between the qualities of a professional teacher and the negative effects of performativity and proposes a rebalancing framework. Three significant elements of teachers’ professionalism are identified as essential components of a professional teacher: knowledge, autonomy and responsibility. The negative effects of performance culture on these three aspects are discussed and three compromising factors are identified: lack of autonomy, stifled creativity and breach of trust. Finally, evolving from the analysis of relevant research and literature, a conceptual framework is proposed. With a recurring theme of establishing a balance between control and collaboration, this rebalancing framework focuses on the interconnecting elements of leadership, professional learning and responsible, informed accountability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-315
Number of pages15
JournalAsia - Pacific Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020


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