Teacher professional standards: Controlling or developing teaching?

Judyth Sachs*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


The issue of professional teaching standards has generated considerable interest from various quarters in Australia and elsewhere. In this paper, I am concerned with examining some of the claims made by advocates for the establishing of uniform standards for the teaching profession. To this end I identify three major claims derived from the Australian literature regarding the benefits that the application of a standards framework would make to the quality of teaching: the introduction of standards should improve the performance of teachers; the introduction of standards will improve the standing of teachers; and standards contribute to the on-going professional learning of teachers. Specifically, I argue that we need to look critically at the issue of professional standards for teachers and the claims that are made by their advocates. In particular, we need to ask whose interests are served by these standards and what are the effects of the imposition of these standards on teachers individually and collectively. Finally, we need to ask whether the standards judged as appropriate for today's teaching conditions and teachers will be equally appropriate in the future. Standards cannot and should not be frozen in time; they must be flexible to the changing conditions of teaching and learning as they occur inside and outside of schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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