Professional lives of teachers: how can we support from a Higher Education perspective?

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Greater understanding of the professional lives of teachers can be achieved by drawing upon theory and key debates in the discipline area. These include teacher agency, pedagogy, ideological pull, identity and inclusion / exclusion in education. It is important that both qualified teachers and student teachers understand and reflect upon these matters, and critically engage within the wider education context in order for them to become critical pedagogues (Philpott and Spruce, 2021).

To explore this area of interest in greater depth, a study about the values, experiences and aspirations of music educators was conducted. A narrative inquiry approach was adopted and semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight educators, resulting in the co-construction of storied accounts. Findings will be presented, with a particular focus on those that relate to Higher Education (HE).

Some of the educators raised concerns about teacher training (attributed to a lack of time, investment and curriculum content) and teacher support post-qualification. This was against a backdrop of perceived pressure from external control (management and policy), experiences of exclusion, and some disagreement about what content should be valued in music education. These issues raise important questions about the purpose and capacity of HE institutions (HEIs) to make a positive difference to the professional lives of teachers – in consideration of other priorities and policy demands, for example the Core Content Framework (Department for Education, 2019). Reflection will be encouraged about the place of HEIs to allow critical pedagogy to flourish, grounded in the context of this study.

Department for Education 2019. ITT Core Content Framework.

Philpott, C. and Spruce, G., 2021. Structure and Agency in Music Education. In: R. Wright, G. Johansen, P.A. Kanellopoulos and P. Schmidt (eds), The Routledge Handbook to Sociology of Music Education. Milton: Taylor and Francis. pp. 288-299.
Period27 Jun 2024
Event titleACRE 2024: The Purpose, Politics, and prospects of higher education: Annual Conference for Research in Education 2024
Event typeConference
LocationOrmskirk, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Professional identity
  • Music education