The Power of Time: Teachers’ Working Day – Negotiating Autonomy and Control

May. 21, 2010

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 9 Number 2, (2010). p. 284-295.

This paper focuses on teachers’ repeated complaints of lack of time.

The theme is explored within data material collected in a research and development project in a Norwegian primary school (2006‑09).

The data collection included observations from development work together with a teacher team, and interviews with their principal, a representative of the teacher union and a representative of the local education authority.

The purpose of the article is to study in what way teachers’ autonomy and utilisation of time is debated when teachers experience that new reforms exert more demands and external control on their professional work.

The material is analysed within the framework of critical discourse analysis with a focus on how social practice and power relations are constructed, maintained and negotiated in the education arena.

The findings indicate that the teachers’ working day is an arena for constant political and discursive negotiations, and two discourses – professional and economic – contribute to conflicting views regarding teachers’ autonomy and utilisation of time.

Updated: Nov. 02, 2010