The Impact of Neoliberal Educational Reforms on Teachers Learning Experiences


Problem Statement: Rapid changes in education can cause frictions in society, in schools and universities influencing teachers´ learning. Inconsistent learning experiences affect beginning teacher´ commitment to the profession and professional identity.Research Questions: 1) How teachers beginning their work during neoliberal reforms describe learning 2) How committed are they to the teaching profession and what domains of professional identity they developed mostPurpose of the Study: The aim of the study is to describe teachers learning experiences starting from neoliberal educational reform In Estonia. Better understanding of the impact of reform on teachers learning helps to understand more critical aspects of professional identity influenced by transition from totalitarian system to liberal one.Research Methods: Data was collected for 15 Estonian teachers` (graduated in 1990-1995). Semi-structured interview, based on concept of social learning was used. In first step data was analysed by components of social learning: community, practice, belonging, identity (Wenger, 2004). In the second step belonging and identity sub-categories were analysed by critical society-related factors, identified based on theoretical frame of the study.Findings: Teachers describe their learning as continuous process where experiences in school context and contacts within local teaching community are more important than belonging to other social groups. The role of professional identity building was marginal. However teachers’ commitment to the profession was high. The social changes were reflected more in changes of teaching related routines and less in identity.Conclusions: Although rapid changes in society cause frictions in education, those changes are not reflected in teachers´ learning experiences as strong as expected. The neoliberal social changes are reflected in personal meaning of teaching and in changes of everyday routines but support of colleagues helped to cope with changes and the personal context of learning eclipsed social context of learning.

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03 August 2015

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Child psychology, psychology, developmental psychology, psychological testing, psychological measurement, family psychology

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Mets, K., Timoštšuk, I., & Ugaste, A. (2015). The Impact of Neoliberal Educational Reforms on Teachers Learning Experiences. In Z. Bekirogullari, & M. Y. Minas (Eds.), Cognitive - Social, and Behavioural Sciences - icCSBs 2015, August, vol 6. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 162-173). Future Academy.