Challenging the Concept of Continuous Professional Development

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“We believe—and this is a confession-without-address—that what is and should be at stake are gestures of disorientation and maps that are helping us to get lost, maps that are not simplifying but making everything more complex, maps that are not offering an overview or a liberating view but that liberate our view” (Simons & Masschelein, 2006). Richter et al. (2011) define continuous professional development (CPD) as an “uptake of formal and informal learning opportunities that deepen and extend teachers’ professional competence, including knowledge, beliefs, motivation and self-regulatory skills” (p. 116). In spite of this broad definition, CPD has been mainly connected with formal learning opportunities. These are defined as “structured learning environments with a specified curriculum, such as graduate courses or mandated staff development (…). They represent a main component of the ‘training model’, also known as the ‘traditional view’ on professional development” (p. 117). This “traditional view” is grounded on technical rationality perspectives about professionalism, development and teaching. We argue that it configures a community of sameness, a rational community (Lingis, 1994; Biesta, 2006). However, in Europe, teachers’ work is being challenged and widened, both by the European Union education and training policies and by the knowledge and learning society. The Bologna Process reshaped teachers’ education both by promoting an initial common path for all educators (not only teachers) and by recognizing the diversity of education professionals. Lifelong Learning policies promote the emergence of different education and training projects in diversified contexts. In addition, the nature of knowledge and experience emerging from complex and systemic perspectives allows different understandings of the work of education to be shared. Osberg, Biesta & Cilliers (2008) propose an epistemology of emergence: knowledge emerges from our transactions with the world in an unending transactional process and is understood as a response which brings forth new worlds. So, we need tools to renegotiate our world. In this paper, we discuss the need to question the concept of teachers’ CPD in its scope and underlying assumptions. What would constitute a properly educational critique of continuous professional development? How can we rethink professional development? Do we still need to talk about teachers’ CPD? Can we eventalize the concept? Our proposal seeks to explore the plurality among those who make the work of education. Grounded on contemporary theories, rationalities and needs, we aim to inhibit the pervasive hegemony of the traditional school model of teaching and learning.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationThe Future of Theory in Education: Traditions, Trends, Trajectories
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012
EventSecond International Theorising Education Conference -
Duration: 1 Jan 2012 → …


ConferenceSecond International Theorising Education Conference
Period1/01/12 → …

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