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The Autonomy Paradox: Teachers’ Perceptions of Self-Governance Across Europe

Authors: Wermke, Wieland, Salokangas, Maija

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  • Offers an in-depth investigation into what constitutes a teacher’s work in four case study countries
  • Demonstrates the dire need for in-depth international comparative research
  • Provides useful tools for future studies investigating teacher autonomy and teachers’ work
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eBook 74,89 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-65602-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 93,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-65601-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
About this book

What do we mean when we speak about teacher autonomy? How free are teachers to go about their work?  

To answer these complex questions the authors asked thousands of teachers in four national contexts: in Finland, Ireland, Germany and Sweden, what they think autonomy looks like. The resulting book examines teacher autonomy theoretically and empirically, comparing teachers’ perceptions of their professional autonomy. Utilizing a mixed method approach the authors combine data from a large-scale questionnaire study, teacher interviews, lesson and meeting observations, and workshops that brought together teachers from the four participating countries. All this engagement with teachers revealed that simply increasing their professional autonomy might not lead to desired outcomes. This is because, from a teachers’ point of view, increased decision-making capacity brings further complexity and risk to their work, and it may instead lead to anxiety, self-restriction, and the eventual rejection of autonomy. These surprising conclusions challenge the increasingly orthodox view that increased autonomy is a desirable end in itself. This is what the authors call the autonomy paradox.

About the authors

Wieland Wermke is Associate Professor of education and works currently at Stockholm University, Department of Special Education, Sweden. Wieland’s research has its interest in comparative education with a special focus on teacher professionalism. Together with various colleagues, he has mostly investigated teachers in Germany, Sweden, Finland, Norway and England. Together with Maija Salokangas, he has conducted a comparative study on teachers’ perceived autonomy in four European countries, which is the foundation for this book. Wieland has also written a handbook (in Swedish) and articles on comparative education methodology. 

Maija Salokangas is Associate Professor in the Department of Education, Maynooth University, Ireland. Her research explores the interplay between education policy and practice, with a focus on agency and autonomy. Recently, she has explored teachers’ work in a number of countries including Ireland, Finland, Sweden, Germany and England. Maija’s earlier publications, including her previous book Inside the Autonomous School: Making Sense of the Global Educational Trend (2017) critique the international school autonomy movement.  


Reviews

“Through comparisons of educational policy and practice across nations, the authors skillfully unpack and theorize teacher professionalism and autonomy. The book represents a compelling argument for analyzing teacher autonomy in its complexity, in different domains and several sites. Thus, the authors make a significant contribution to the existing literature on teacher autonomy.” (Eva Forsberg, Professor in Education STEP, Uppsala University)

 

“At a time when policy makers around the world are seeking to strengthen their education systems, this important new book illustrates the dangers of borrowing ideas from other countries. By getting close to the thinking of teachers in four European countries though systematic research, the authors reveal the ways in which contextual factors influence how practitioners see themselves and their work. A crucial message that emerges is the importance of teachers feeling valued and trusted as professionals. The implication is that they must be involved in decision-making regarding what happens in their schools."  (Mel Ainscow CBE, Professor of Education, University of Glasgow)

 

“Like many truisms, the notion of teacher autonomy is taken as a ‘good thing’, however as Wieland Wermke & Maija Salokangas suggest it is a ‘good thing’ that needs careful unpacking. This is precisely what they do in this comprehensive and excellent comparative empirical study. By placing teacher autonomy in its respective socio-historical and cultural contexts and drawing on a wealth of primary data, they weave a fascinating narrative in how teachers work and professional lives are shaped. This is a very fine evidence-based contribution to a topic that is central to not only teacher professionalism but the literature on professions as a whole.” (Prof. Andrew Loxley, School of Education, Trinity College Dublin)

 

“With this book, Wermke and Salokangas have managed to handle the difficult balance of closely zooming in on the concept of teacher autonomy in different school situations without losing sight of the interrelatedness and context dependency that characterize teacher autonomy. The book presents highly interesting and valuable insights into the teaching profession in four countries based on rigorous comparative empirical work. It also presents fertile theoretical and analytical concepts to further our understanding of teacher autonomy in today’s world.” (Tine S. Prøitz, Professor, Department of business, history and social science, University of South‐Eastern Norway)

 

“Teacher autonomy is not only a contested policy concept; it is also a fascinating field of empirical investigation and theoretical inquiry. Employing a truly comparative approach, Wermke’s and Salokangas’ Autonomy Paradox presents an empirically rich and theoretically nuanced contribution to the debate. This book may very well become the authoritative reference when it comes to research on teacher autonomy.” (Prof. Dr. Barbara Schulte, International & Comparative Education Department of Education, University of Vienna)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 74,89 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-65602-7
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover 93,59 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-65601-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Covid-19 shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock
  • The final prices may differ from the prices shown due to specifics of VAT rules
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Autonomy Paradox: Teachers’ Perceptions of Self-Governance Across Europe
Authors
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-65602-7
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-65602-7
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-65601-0
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 178
Number of Illustrations
8 b/w illustrations, 14 illustrations in colour
Topics