Policy research and ‘damaged teachers’: Towards an epistemologically respectful paradigm

John Smyth


This paper canvasses one of the most debilitating issues currently disfiguring schools—the absent voices of teachers in the policy reform of schooling. This is a phenomenon that has afflicted schooling around the world for more than three decades, and it is not without effects. The escalating levels of student disaffection, alienation, violence, disengagement and ‘dropping out’ are not unconnected to the marginalisation of teachers and the disrespectful and distrustful ways in which they have been treated by policy makers, politicians and a largely hostile media. What is advanced in its place in this paper is a way of conducting research that restores trust through acknowledging and celebrating the distinctive repertoires of knowledge teachers and students possess, and points to the way in which a more respectful policy paradigm might be re-invented.

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v20i3.231


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015