University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series > “Leave me Alone – Simply Let Me Teach”: An exploration of teacher professionalism in Kyrgyzstan

“Leave me Alone – Simply Let Me Teach”: An exploration of teacher professionalism in Kyrgyzstan

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This article examines how, in the context of the increasing deprofessionalization of the teaching professional both nationally and internationally, teachers have attempted to reshape the notion of “professionalism” in a post-Soviet Kyrgyzstan, where teachers function within a top-down, bureaucratic education system. The article employs Evans’s (2008) concept of “professionality orientation” to explore teacher professionalism as it is really practiced by teachers, focusing on teachers in four schools, whose professional practice is indicative of teacher professionalism across Kyrgyzstan. The article reveals that teachers in Kyrgyzstan face a demand for professionalism of a dual nature: one inherited from the legacy of Soviet ideology, the other, the Western managerialism championed by international donors. Both “demanded professionalisms” limit teachers’ participation in shaping their work. The article concludes with the argument that professional leadership by teachers and teacher-led reform, or “enacted professionalism,” is what is necessary to effectively address falling education standards, deteriorating learning outcomes, and worsening working conditions for teachers in Kyrgyzstan.

This talk is part of the Kazakhstan Programme Research Seminar Series series.

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