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Professional Learning and the Unfinalizable: English Educators Writing and Telling Stories Together

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Standards-based education reforms and intensified accountability regimes are now a feature of most countries’ agendas to improve the quality of their teaching workforces. One of the direct consequences of these reforms is a requirement that teachers demonstrate their ongoing participation in forms of professional development or professional learning throughout their careers. Along with this, there has been a narrowing of what is acknowledged by standards-based accountability regimes as discipline-based professional knowledge and ‘valuable’ professional development. This essay is a dialogic, reflexive account of a professional learning and writing project for English teachers and teacher educators in Australia, begun in 2013, called the stella2.0 project. The project builds on the groundbreaking work of the STELLA project in Australia from the turn of the century, and some other models of teacher writing projects across the world. Drawing on Cavarero, we critically scrutinize writing and storytelling in the dialogic professional community of the stella2.0 project, and in the process ‘speak back’ to standards-based reform policies that undermine English educators’ agency and professionalism.
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Keywords: creative practice; professional learning; standards-based reforms; storytelling; writing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: April 3, 2015

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