Changing Conceptions of Teaching as a Profession: Personal Reflections

  • Eric Hoyle

This chapter provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the concept that has constituted the leitmotif of my academic writing: the concept of profession. This has been linked throughout with my two other main interests. One is the nature of the school as an organization, and particularly the relationship between teacher autonomy and bureaucratic control. The other is the leadership and management of schools, and particularly the role of school leaders in supporting teachers in their professional task.

In retrospect, my approach has entailed a constant engagement with a series of dilemmas, the fundamental dilemma being rooted in the tension between two modes of organizing work in public sector organizations: the professional and the bureaucratic (managerial). Although I had throughout my writing implicitly adopted a ‘dilemmas’ approach, I hadn’t pondered on the nature of dilemmas until I encountered the following: “Dilemmas are neither problems to be solved nor issues to be faced. Problems are presumed solvable; issues can be negotiated and thus are resolvable. As we use the term in this chapter, we assert that dilemmas reveal deeper, more fundamental dichotomies. They present situation with equally valued alternatives. As a consequence, dilemmas cannot be solved or resolved” (Ogawa et al., 1999: 278).


Teaching Profession Reform Movement Occupational Prestige Public Sector Organization Teacher Professionalism 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Hoyle
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of BristolUK

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