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Developing as a science teacher: navigating the demands of accountability and autonomy in the classroom

This paper begins by examining varying meanings of ‘professionalism’ in public policy contexts within and beyond education. These meanings are elaborated by examining empirical studies of teacher professionalism in the context of science teaching. Overall, the argument is made that policies aimed at supporting teacher professionalism need to promote an appropriate balance between accountability and autonomy in science teachers’ work.

Features of such a policy context include: recognising the multiple policies to which teachers are responding; seeking coherence across these policies; enabling (indeed requiring) the exercise of local flexibility in the enactment of teacher development policies; and creating incentives that encourage teachers to take control of their professional development

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