Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2015 Archive

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Why are teachers on the global policy agenda?


1 December 2015

This presentation by doctoral research student Tore Bernt Sørensen (pictured) draws on his research into the OECD's Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) – a survey that has, so far, been conducted twice and represents one of the most ambitious efforts to generate knowledge about the teaching profession and put teachers on the policy agenda internationally.

Mr Sørensen's project is titled “The political construction of the OECD program TALIS: the denationalisation of teacher policy?”. The entry point of his presentation is that TALIS is a major research exercise as well as an outcome of political contestation. The strategic-relational character of cooperation in the global educational policy field will be highlighted by unpacking some of the complex modalities of power between key organisations engaged in TALIS: the OECD as coordinator; the European Commission as a main working partner; the global union of teachers, Education International; and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD. The latter two both took part in the negotiations shaping TALIS. The role of national governments in TALIS will also be addressed.

The presentation is based on an empirical material consisting of policy documents and 12 qualitative research interviews with staff and representatives from the four organisations, analysed with a focus on the distinctive and varied practical argumentations employed by these policy actors centred on the issue: why are teachers on the global policy agenda?

Main references

  • Connell, R. (2009). "Good teachers on dangerous ground: towards a new view of teacher quality and professionalism", Critical Studies in Education, 50(3), 213-229.

  • Fairclough, I., & N. Fairclough (2012). Political discourse analysis: a method for advanced students Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

  • Lingard, B., & S. Rawolle (2011). "New scalar politics: implications for education policy", Comparative Education, 47(4), 489-502.

  • Sørensen, T.B., & S.L. Robertson (forthcoming), "The OECD program TALIS and framing, measuring and selling quality teacher", In M. Akiba & G.K. LeTendre (eds.). Routledge International Handbook of Teacher Quality and Policy. London and New York: Routledge.

Event details

  • When: 11am–1pm

  • Where: Room 612, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
    Education Building A35
    Click image for interactive map.

  • Cost: Free

  • RSVP: RSVP by emailing Dr Nicole Mockler.

  • Contact: Dr Nicole Mockler
    T: +61 9351 3793

  • Speaker: Tore Bernt Sørensen graduated as a teacher in Denmark in 2000 and in the following years taught young migrants and refugees in Copenhagen. Between 2003 and 2009 he worked in University College Capital in Copenhagen, teaching and managing continuing professional development for teachers and contributing to research and development projects about language-across-the-curriculum and intercultural education. After completing a Master of Arts in Educational Sociology in 2011 from the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Mr Sørensen worked for a few months as a teaching assistant in East London, and then in the Analysis and Studies Unit in the European Commission's DG Education and Culture in Brussels, before beginning on the doctoral program in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol in 2013. His doctoral project, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2016, is supported financially by the University of Bristol with a three-years' scholarship. Using document analysis and qualitative research interviews with policy actors directly engaged in the conception, implementation and uses of TALIS, the project discusses the mechanisms, contextual conditions and outcomes related to the increasing interest directed towards teachers’ education and labour in the global educational policy field over the past 15 years. Moreover, three comparative cases have been selected for further investigation: Australia, England and Finland. All of these have participated in TALIS. Mr Sørensen is in Australia for a six-week research visit, during which time he will be based at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney.

Why are teachers on the global policy agenda?

Where Room 612, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney
Education Building A35
Click image for interactive map.


1 December 2015

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