The New Appointment System in Education in Cyprus: What is its effect on primary teachers’ professional identities?

Phylactou, Antigoni Michael (2022) The New Appointment System in Education in Cyprus: What is its effect on primary teachers’ professional identities? Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Teachers’ contemporary realities are facing a wide spectrum of education innovations and reforms that aim to improve education in ways that will improve students’ learning outcomes. However, in the push to reform education, often the repercussions on teachers are not included in the debate nor are they explored in any depth. One example of such efforts can be found in the Cyprus education system through its first ever major reform: the ‘New Appointment System in Education’. In this context, the influence on teachers’ professional identities has captured the interest of several education researchers but they ignore the way in which teachers respond to such initiatives, preferring, instead, to examine the consequences and changes this may have on teachers.

The purpose of this research is to examine teachers’ perceptions of the education reform, exploring how this change has the potential to influence their professional practice and sense of professional identity, and how they respond. Discursive practices related to teachers’ professionalism and quality worked as areas of exploration and as a basis for both the construction of this research methodology and the interpretation of data. Foucault’s ideas on governmentality were utilised to help understand the power relations and discursive practices embedded in this reform. A case study was used as the method of inquiry, employing two sources of evidence: interviews and focus groups, through a qualitative approach and interpretivist paradigm.

This research provides evidence that issues of power and control exist at the heart of education reforms and affect not only the relations between teachers and the relevant authorities but also the way teachers perceive themselves. The findings strongly indicate that, in the process of an education reform, there can be a disconnect between its intended aims and its actual consequences, delivered through the role of teachers in the reform. This research suggests that Foucault’s ideas are an important conceptual tool for understanding the ramifications of education reforms on teachers’ professional identities. At the same time, it shows that the way teachers are likely to respond and resist, specifically in this case through performance and managing impressions, may challenge the Foucauldian notion of government as ‘the conduct of conduct’, as well as the theory of governmentality, which requires the disciplining and subjectivation of teachers. Thus, the findings of this research provide another way of looking at how education academics and researchers explore the ways that teachers respond to education reforms, contributing to the already robust international research and literature that adopts Foucauldian notions to explore teachers’ professional identities in this context.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Murphy, Dr. Mark and Hedge, Dr. Nicki
Date of Award: 2022
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82774
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 10:31
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2022 16:41
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82774

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