Struggling with Workload: Primary Teachers’ Experience of Intensification

Nov. 10, 2009

This article was published in Teaching and Teacher Education, Vol 25 number 8, Authors: Katrijn Ballet and Geert Kelchtermans, " Struggling with Workload: Primary Teachers’ Experience of Intensification", Pages 1150-1157, Copyright Elsevier (November 2009).

During the last two decades teachers in many countries have found themselves facing new demands and changes. In his “intensification thesis”, Apple (1986) made a powerful attempt to conceptualize and explain these changes: the growing economic oriented perspective on education leads to an intensification of teachers' work.

This paper, which reports on qualitative–interpretative case studies in Flemish (Belgian) primary schools, contributes to a more refined understanding of teachers' working conditions.

Using “experience of intensification” as a central concept, the authors call for a refined understanding of the complex interplay of teachers' professional selves, the cultural and structural working conditions in the school and the different “calls for change” they have to deal with.

Based on multiple case studies, the authors demonstrate that the experience of intensification is mediated through processes of interpretation and sense-making that are influenced by the organizational working conditions as well as teachers' sense of professional identity.

Apple, M.W. (1986). Teachers and Texts. A political economy of class and gender relations in educations. London: Routledge.

Updated: Jan. 12, 2010