Re-thinking professional development and accountability: towards a more educational training practice

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In this article, I discuss the contribution of theoretical resources to the transformation in my thinking about professional development and accountability, within an action research self-study of practice as a civil servant, in the context of participation on the Doctor in Education (Leadership) programme at Dublin City University (DCU) in the period 2008-2012. It is at the intersection of these subject positions, between theory and practice, that professional development was explored through the ‘leadership problem’ of encouraging trainer colleagues to investigate the educational potential of information and communications technologies (ICT) for the development of their practice. Ultimately, this constituted a critical space for sustained dialogue between the self and the social in exploring professional subjectivity. The resources discussed supported the interrogation of social, cultural and historical conditions influencing self-understanding and narrative reasoning (Tamboukou, 2008) and movement from strategic to communicative reasoning (Habermas, 1984). It is claimed that this has significance for the development of a more educational training practice, which expresses a concern for subjectivity and agency in the face of a growing ‘performativity’ in professional life (Ball, 2003).

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