Developing Professional Memory

A Case Study of London English Teaching (1965–1975)


Author: Paul Tarpey
In Developing Professional Memory, the author examines narratives from ‘progressive’ and ‘radical’ London-based English teachers who began their careers between 1965 and 1975. English teaching in this period, which the author defines as a ‘cauldron’ of competing and contested currents, is often portrayed negatively in dominant discourses around the subject. The teachers’ narratives, however, provide a much more nuanced and positive story.

By recovering and documenting the collective Professional Memory of English teachers in a particular conjuncture, this volume offers a compelling practitioner account of events and developments and proves that learning from Professional Memory has transformative potential. The author argues that by critically confronting narratives, practices and existing conjunctural circumstances, current practitioners might develop greater agency in debates around their professional roles and responsibilities.

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Paul Tarpey, Ph.D. (2015), UCL Institute of Education, is a lecturer in Education and Social Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He publishes on Professional Memory and English teaching.
Chapter 1: Motivations, Locations, Intentions
 Structure of the Book

Chapter 2: Conjunctures, Contexts, Circumstances
 Progressive and Radical Traditions
 Locating English into a Wider Genealogy of Context
 The Changing Identity of English Teaching
 Developments in Practice and Resources
 John Dixon’s ‘Growth’ Model of English
 Some Wider Developments
 Events and Developments in the ILEA
 The Bullock Report
 Contending Polarities in English?

Chapter 3: Memories, Narratives, Relationships
 Collective Memory
 Autobiographical and Historical Memory
 Inner Speech and Speech Genre
 Social Constructionism
 Narrative Representation and PM

Chapter 4: Constructing Identities and Attitudes
 English before School and English at School
 Attitudes to English Lessons
 The Teaching and Activities in English Lessons
 Memorable Teachers
 Being ‘Bad’
 University and Teacher Training College
 Developing Oral Work
 A Focus on Children’s Agency
 Developing Curricula and Assessment
 Insistence on Mixed-Ability
 The Influence of ILEA and the English Centre
 Professional Development in Other Areas
 What Do These Memories Tell Us?

Chapter 6: From ‘Cauldron’ to Current Contexts
 Attitudes to Regulation and Prescription
 Is There a Continuing Relevance of the Teachers’ Practice?
 What Defines This Generation of English Teachers?
 Changes in Attitude
 Has Something Been ‘Lost’?
 Perceptions of Professionalism and Accountability
 Can Lessons Be Learned from This Generation?
 Suggestions for Future Developments
 Are They ‘Progressive’ Teachers?
 What Do These Memories Tell Us?

Chapter 7: Making Sense of the Memories
 Identities and Working Cultures in English Teaching
 Are There Alternative Speech Genres in English Teaching?
 The Importance of Confronting Conjunctural Circumstances
 Is the Teachers’ Work Still Relevant?
 Competing and Contested Currents in the Teachers’ Stories
 Teacher Memory and Teacher Nostalgia
 Political English Teaching?

Chapter 8: Conclusions, Implications, Destinations
 Where to Next?
 What Is PM and How Might It Be Significant?
 What Practical Contribution Might PM Studies Make?
 PM and History of Education
 PM, Teacher Education and Professional Development
 PM, English Teaching and Collective Memory
 More PM Studies?

Those interested in English teaching: English teachers, teacher trainers, researchers. Also, life historians, students of history, English or social sciences. Those interested in professional life and work, narrative and memory.