Teachers working together: What do we talk about when we talk about autonomy?

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This paper explores the proposition that teacher autonomy might be realized where teachers are empowered by their institutional context to learn about student learning, and act upon that learning. This was something my colleagues and I have talked a lot about during recent years, culminating with their dispensing with a timetable altogether in recent collaborations. The measure of autonomy is then found in the discourse of team teachers, by what they assume, what they question, how they reinvent a course or a program, and how they come to shared understandings of what’s happening, and how they might impact upon those processes. Tasks then are ideally always appropriate to the moment. The approach described in this paper is interpretive, making use of interview data, accounts, documents, and action research methods.


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