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ERIC Number: EJ999730
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1175-8708
"It Serves a Bigger Purpose": The Tension between Professional Identity and Bureaucratic Mandate in Public Education
Montgomery, Rob
English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v11 n3 p45-58 Sep 2012
The argument that we need content standards in public education often ignores a fundamental question: Even if teachers have a list of standards, will they use them? In the case of California's self-proclaimed "world-class" content standards in Literary Response and Analysis, the answer to this question is an emphatic "No". As part of a university research study, practising, high-school teachers with varying levels of experience (including several who were past participants in an affiliate site of the National Writing Project) were interviewed about their classroom implementation of the Literary Response and Analysis standards. Overwhelmingly, teachers claimed to ignore the standards almost completely when it came to planning and instruction, citing their own knowledge of ELA subject matter as well as their students' needs as superseding the importance of standards created by an anonymous committee. Rather than serving as an indictment of the teachers' abilities, this mistrust actually speaks to the teachers' own firm conception of their professional identity, especially as it pertains to pedagogical content knowledge. While focusing on California's state content standards at the time, the study has implications for the current widespread shift to the Common Core Standards. (Contains 1 table and 1 footnote.)
Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California