Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

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Alison Milner

ESRC DTC PhD Student, Faculty of Social Sciences


Research Summary

Current Status

PhD (full-time) - currently registered

Research Topic Title

A comparative study of teacher professionalism in England and Sweden

Research Summary

My doctoral research is a critical, interpretive study of teacher professionalism in England and Sweden. Through the discursive analysis of policy documents and elite interviews, the aim is to ascertain the role played by each of the key stakeholders in construing discourses of teacher professionalism, understand the process of construction within each social context, and discover areas of influence or compromise. Ultimately, this research will assess which voices have contributed most to the meaning-making process within these two European contexts.

Research Interests

Teacher professionalism, teachers' professional identities, free schools, education policy, comparative education, European education systems, narrative inquiry, discourse analysis.

Research Supervisors

Professor Howard Stevenson

Professor Christopher Day

Primary Funding Source

ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

Additional Research Experience

I have experience as a Research Assistant on two EU-funded research projects. The first is 'Investing in Education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training' and the second is 'Education Trade Unions for the Teaching Profession: Strengthening the capacity of education trade unions to represent teachers' professional needs in social dialogue'. Both projects are in collaboration with the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and the Principal Investigator is Professor Howard Stevenson, Director of Research in the University of Nottingham School of Education.

In cooperation with my main supervisor, Professor Howard Stevenson, I have successfully bid for a Universitas 21 Graduate Research Project Grant. This grant will fund a collaborative project between doctoral students from the University of Nottingham, Lund University and Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. It aims to compare the diverse methodological approaches to educational inquiry in the privatised contexts of England, Sweden and Chile.

Research Institutes, Centres and/or Research Clusters Membership

Member of the Centre for Research in Educational Leadership and Management, School of Education, University of Nottingham

Member of the British Educational Research Association

Co-convenor of the Critical Education Policy and Leadership Studies (CEPaLS) Research Interest Group of the British Educational Leadership and Management Administration Society (BELMAS)

Member of the World Education Research Association International Research Network (WERA-IRN): Families, Educators and Communities as Educational Advocates: Cross-National Perspectives

Member of the Universitas 21 Forum for International Networking in Education (U21 FINE) Leadership Team, an international group of postgraduate and early career researchers from U21 schools of education

Conference Papers and Presentations

'Challenging Teacher Workload: an analysis of discourses of individual and collective action in trade union policy', presented at the European Educational Research Conference (ECER), August 2017.

'Education Policy, the EU and the European Semester: soft policy in hard times', presented at the European Educational Research Conference (ECER), August 2017.

'No Alternative for Swedish Teachers?: the legitimation of state-capital interests through discourses of teacher professionalism', presented at the European Educational Research Conference (ECER), August 2016.

'Narrative as Imagination: storying an alternative discourse of teacher professionalism', presented as part of a World Educational Research Association Focal Meeting symposium on 'Understanding the Nature of Educational Practices Through Narrative,' at the European Educational Research Conference (ECER), September 2015.

Recent Publications

Nottingham ESRC Doctoral Training Centre

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