On either side of the teacher: perspectives on professionalism in education

Nadia Edmond, Michael Hayler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper brings together two studies which examine the nature of professionalism in education by focusing on the perspectives of two under-researched groups namely ‘teaching assistants’(TAs) and teacher educators (TEs) working ‘either side’ of the school teacher . The projects were conducted in, and framed by, the UK policy context of public sector modernization and austerity and drew upon different approaches including auto-ethnography, life history and discourse analysis. The authors examine the formation and representation of professional identity in education through TAs’ and TEs’ discourses of ‘professionalism’ in education. Three themes in the accounts are discussed; TA to teacher and teacher to TE as ‘non-standard’ professional progressions, role ambiguity, and the role of classroom experience and HE learning in the professional identities of TAs and TEs. We comment on the importance of capturing alternatives to the discourse of imposed policy, emergent in practitioners’ voices, and reflect upon the ways in which these voices contribute to the wider international debate on professionalism in education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Education for Teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2013

Bibliographical note

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in the Journal of Education for Teaching, 2013 © Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02607476.2013.765193.


  • teaching assistant
  • teacher educator
  • teacher professionalism
  • professional formation
  • higher education
  • professional experience
  • associate professionals


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