Professional cultures of creativity and care in performative primary schools

Troman, Geoff and Jeffrey, Bob (2008). Professional cultures of creativity and care in performative primary schools. In: European Conference on Educational Research, 10-12 Sep 2008, University of Goteborg.



The research team has undertaken sustained "involved" observation in six contrasting English primary schools located in contrasting Local Education Authorities. A main focus was how the headteachers and teachers implement performativity policies in the schools and the impact of this on their professional and personal "selves" as they also attempt to implement creativity policies. In this paper, we focus on the experience and perspectives of teachers working in professional cultures of creativity and care in very contrasting economic and social situations. English primary schools were noted for their creative pedagogic approaches and professional cultures of care (Nias, 1989). However, owing to reform agendas introduced for social justice reasons but also aimed at improving educational standards for increasing international competitiveness, both creativity and cultures of care have come under attack in performative primary schools (Troman et al., 2007). At the same time as performative policies are being introduced there is increasing advocacy for the adoption of creativity policies within English primary education. The research reported in this paper has been conducted over two school years in order to analyse the effects of new initiatives in terms of their impact on teacher identity and changing experience of their roles in these work cultures. The paper concludes by arguing that teachers are managing the conflicts involved in implementing these forms of policy but professional cultures of care and creativity, while creating spaces for resistance to performative pressures, also serve performative ends.

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