Teacher Change in an Era of Neo-Liberal Policies: A Neo-Institutional Analysis of Teachers’ Perceptions of their Professional Change

Aug. 10, 2014

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 13 Number 3 2014, pages 361‑379

This article explores how neo-institutional theory may be applied as an analytical framework to investigate the relationships between teachers’ perceptions on their professional change on the one hand, and the numerous change efforts embedded in recent neo-liberal educational policies in Norway on the other.
It is argued that the dynamics of change can be investigated in light of teachers’ institutionalised practices within a certain set of governing mechanisms including regulative rules, norms and cultural-cognitive beliefs.
Data were collected through biographical interviews with Norwegian teachers.

The findings suggest that vital, regulative elements in recent neo-liberal policies have managed to penetrate the teachers’ perceptions of their classroom practices, in a process that is framed by teachers’ pre-existing normative values and the cultural scripts guiding their practices.
The article concludes that the neo-institutional analytical framework may serve as a sound approach to investigate and compare how issues of teacher change are unfolding across European education systems and policies.

Updated: May. 10, 2015