Smyth, John (2007) Teacher development against the policy reform grain: an argument for recapturing relationships in teaching and learning. Teacher Development, 11 (2). pp. 221-236. ISSN 1366-4530

As public schools in countries like the UK, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand continue to
suffer from the damaging effects of poorly conceptualized educational reforms, educators struggle
to come up with alternatives with which to reclaim schools. While acknowledging the situational,
contextual and temporal differences between these countries, this paper presents a rationale for
reinserting the relational work of schools at the centre of a teacher development-led form of recovery.
The central claim advanced herein is that teacher development in schools must have a central
and demonstrable concern with the primacy of relationships in teaching and learning. Schools and
teachers have the collective capacity to reclaim the ground that has been severely eroded by managerialist
and marketizing agenda that have been allowed to intrude on schools and subjugate the
importance of relational forms of knowing. Placing students at the centre is crucial to creating the
direction necessary for re-establishing the relational complexity of schools.

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