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    Teachers’ autonomy deconstructed: Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of decision-making and control


    Salokangas, Maija and Wermke, Wieland and Harvey, Gerry (2019) Teachers’ autonomy deconstructed: Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of decision-making and control. European Educational Research Journal, 19 (4). pp. 1-22. ISSN 1474-9041

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    Abstract

    Teacher autonomy has been a popular topic of investigation over the past decades. This article contributes to the debate by casting light on Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of their professional autonomy, drawing from teacher interviews conducted in both countries. The intersection of newly introduced curriculum reforms, differing education governance models and differing control regimes make Ireland and Finland fertile points of comparison. Teacher autonomy is understood in this article as a multidimensional and context-dependent phenomenon, and the conceptualisation is presented in an analytical matrix applicable to comparative research. Findings indicate that teachers in both countries consider themselves very autonomous in their classroom practice and in their educational decisions overall. However, where much of the school-level decision-making in Finnish schools concerning educational, social and developmental issues tends to be in the hands of teachers (either collegially or as individuals), in Irish schools the senior management, and especially the principal, is reportedly more involved. Possibly the greatest difference is the ways in which teachers’ work is controlled, and in how teachers perceive it; Finnish teachers report intensified external control from the civil society, whereas on top of parental pressures Irish teachers report also increasing pressures from the state agencies.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Cite as: Salokangas M, Wermke W, Harvey G. Teachers’ autonomy deconstructed: Irish and Finnish teachers’ perceptions of decision-making and control. European Educational Research Journal. 2020;19(4):329-350. doi:10.1177/1474904119868378
    Keywords: Comparative research; decision-making; control; Ireland; Finland; teachers’ work; autonomy;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Education
    Item ID: 13731
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1177/1474904119868378
    Depositing User: Maija Salokangas
    Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2020 14:50
    Journal or Publication Title: European Educational Research Journal
    Publisher: SAGE Publications
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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