Date of Award

1-1-1999

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Barry Down

Abstract

The corporate transformation of bureaucratic public education in Western Australia commenced in the late 1980s. The reforms announced in the Better Schools Report (1987) aimed to devolve responsibility to schools for the purpose of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public education. Designed to be responsive, adaptable, flexible and accountable, the administrative style accompanying the reforms is described as corporate managerialism. Devolution has impacted heavily on schools and teachers' work. Evidence presented in this thesis suggests that the corporate values and practices that dominate the organisation and management of schools create personal and professional conflict for many classroom teachers. Devolution and corporate managerialism have not only marginalised and in many cases alienated teachers, but failed to improve student learning. In short, the reforms aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness have in fact created additional dilemmas and tensions for classroom teachers. Using teachers' stories this qualitative study examines the perceptions of Level Two secondary classroom teachers about the impact of corporate reforms on their work. It highlights a number of crises that exist for teachers and which threaten their sense of professional autonomy and job satisfaction. Based on the findings the study makes a number of recommendations for creating a critical, collaborative learning environment for classroom teachers.

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