Academic specialists or pathways providers: the changing roles of secondary school teachers in regional Queensland, Australia

Danaher, Patrick Alan ORCID: and Harreveld, R. E. (Bobby) and Kenny, Mairin and Harreveld, Stuart (2004) Academic specialists or pathways providers: the changing roles of secondary school teachers in regional Queensland, Australia. In: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2004, 16-18 Sept 2004, Manchester, United Kingdom.

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[Abstract]: The postcompulsory dimension of secondary school education has been subject to unprecedented pressures, in response to the radical changes to employment and training associated with late capitalism and globalisation (Gorard, 2002). In Australia, as elsewhere, students are staying at school longer but they are also involved in a more complex set of relationships with education and employment than a decade or so ago (Australian National Training Authority, 2003).
These changes have had, and continue to have, a fundamental impact, not only on the learning and opportunities of students and their families, but also on the work and identities of secondary school teachers. Like their colleagues in the vocational education and training sector (Harreveld, 2004), these teachers are subject to the requirements of increasingly corporatist and managerialist curricula and assessment regimes. They are also in the ‘frontline’ of an educational battleground, as governments and other stakeholders demand more from schools while providing them with less.
These broader issues are illustrated and interrogated in this paper by means of mapping the perceptions and aspirations of 55 teachers from secondary schools in the Central Queensland region of Australia. Participants completed an open-ended, qualitative survey questionnaire about their understandings of the purposes of senior schooling, their own roles in achieving those purposes and their degrees of satisfaction in doing so.
Findings point to considerable tensions in teachers’ work and identities between the role of academic specialist, facilitating the entrance of students to university, and that of pathway provider, helping students to broker among available alternatives of higher and vocational education and employment. In the process, teachers varied widely in their judgments of the eventual success and worth of those pathways, particularly in regional communities away from the resources of metropolitan areas.
This paper has important implications for the current trials and 2006 implementation of the Queensland Government’s (2002) Education and Training for the Future (ETRF) agenda. While this agenda will be posited on all people between the ages of 15 and 17 who will be expected to be ‘earning or learning’, teachers are crucial to the attainment of such a vision. Their complex engagements with that vision are fundamental to its success, as well as to understanding the changing roles of the teachers themselves.
Australian National Training Authority. (2003). Vocational education and training in schools. Retrieved July 23, 2003, from
Gorard, S. (2002). Robbing Peter to pay Paul: Resolving the contradiction of lifelong learning. Research in Post-compulsory Education, 7(2), 123-132.
Harreveld, R. E. (2004). The work of adult literacy teaching. In P. Kell, S. Shore & M. J. G. Singh (Eds.), Adult education @ 21st century (pp. 153-163). New York: Peter Lang.
Queensland Government. (2002). Education and training for the future (ETRF). Brisbane, Qld: Author.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: No evidence of copyright restrictions on web site.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:54
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2013 04:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, Central Queensland, postcompulsory education, secondary schools, teachers, teachers' work, vocational education and training
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390307 Teacher education and professional development of educators
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390306 Secondary education

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