WP300 Sectors and the workplace in language teaching: Differences, links and alliances?

Rampton, Bryers, Chick, Cooke, Griffiths, Highet, Leung, Peutrell, Richardson, Tomei, Solomon & Winstanley


How much do language educators working in schools, Further Education (FE), not-for-profit organisations and universities really have in common? Can we really talk about the professional identity of teachers and their freedom for manoeuvre without addressing the kinds of organisation they work for? Is it enough to talk of curriculum-pedagogy-&-assessment, or does this mask systematic institutional differences that have a more profound influence on learning and teaching? Following a sociolinguistic rationale for asking questions like these, this paper describes the response of c.40 teachers who met to discuss them. They generally agreed that the institutions and sectors where they worked often had a major impact on their capacity for thoughtful, responsive and effective practice, productively engaging their professional agency and judgement. Counter to this, excessive regulation, precarious funding and low visibility were experienced to different degrees across their sectors, but the cross-sectoral comparison stimulated pointed towards creative alternatives, added more clarity to the kind of development support needed, and underlined the potential value of practical strategies for active policy engagement.