Feeling deprofessionalised: The social construction of emotions during an OFSTED inspection

Jeffrey, Bob and Woods, Peter (1996). Feeling deprofessionalised: The social construction of emotions during an OFSTED inspection. Cambridge Journal of Education, 26(3) pp. 325–343.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0305764960260303

Abstract

In a qualitative study of a primary school, it was found that the technicist approach of an OFSTED inspection impacted against the holistic and humanistic values of the teachers, producing a high degree of trauma among them. This trauma was not a simple emotional response of the moment, nor was it a product of school failure or lack of leadership, for neither of these applied. It was, rather, socially and politically constructed. The teachers' reactions have to be seen against the background of government reforms over the last decade. In this context, the particular emotions released suggest that the inspection examined here had a latent function of deprofessionalisation. Professional uncertainty was induced, with teachers experiencing confusion, anomie, anxiety and doubt about their competence. They also suffered an assault on their personal selves, closely associated among primary teachers with their professional roles. This took the form of mortification, dehumanisation, the loss of pedagogic values and of harmony and changed and weakened commitment. One of the ways for teachers to avoid such negative trauma is by shifting identity and status from professional to technician.

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