“Now There’s Everything to Stop You”: Teacher Autonomy Then and Now
Globalisation and neoliberal political agendas currently dominate educational policies and practices in, amongst others, many Anglophone and northern European countries including England, with discourses of the market and performance circulating widely and having become established regimes of truth. This demands sustained critique of hegemonic, taken-for-granted understandings and an exploration of how the lived experience of neoliberalism can be disrupted. In this chapter, we utilise the tools of genealogy to develop a history of the present, focussing particularly on the variation in autonomy revealed through a study of mathematics curriculum development. Juxtaposing stories from teachers involved in the Smile mathematics curriculum development project in England in the 1970s and 1980s with responses from currently serving teachers to the experience of performativity we highlight differences in teacher autonomy over time. We conclude by discussing the possibilities for teachers to mobilise such stories in their resistance to dominant, neo-liberal discourses.
KeywordsSocio-historical Neoliberalism Autonomy
We are grateful to the British Academy/Leverhulme for financial support for the project (Grant SG150824), to all those who have contributed so generously to the archive and to those new teachers, particularly Rosie Everley, who have given freely of their time to help us in this project.
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