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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Dr Jonathan Tummons

Tummons, J. (2014). The textual representation of professionalism: problematising professional standards for teachers in the UK lifelong learning sector. Research in Post-Compulsory Education 19(1): 33-44.

Author(s) from Durham


The problematisation of the professional standards for teachers in the UK lifelong learning sector tends to focus on the discourses that the standards embody: discourses that are posited as being based on a restricted or technicist model of professionalism, that fail sufficiently to recognise the lived experiences of teachers within the sector both in terms of professional knowledge and competence, and professional development. This paper takes a different approach, drawing on social practice theories of literacy in order to shift the locus of problematisation away from what the standards might mean, to how the standards are physically assembled or instantiated in documentary form. The paper concludes by suggesting that a first point of problematisation rests not in the discourses that the standards embody, but in the inherent fragilities of any text-based material artefact that has the intention of carrying meaning across spatial, institutional or temporal boundaries.