Certification of Teachers: Tensions in a New Signature Reform
Professional certification or registration is a designation earned by an individual. It is an authorization materialized as a document bearing the signature of a person given the authority to “sign off” professionals. A signed document also signals the “professionalism” of the profession by indicating the capacities that are expected of a professional and the competencies that are required for the successful exercise of an occupation—the desirable components of professional practice. However, the implications and logics of a signing process vary according to different factors, such as status, jurisdiction and societal legitimacy. Drawing on a case from Sweden, this paper investigates and critically discusses the logics of the recent reform of certification of Swedish school teachers. Applying a theoretical distinction between the logics of professional “responsibility” and “accountability,” we indicate embedded consequences for the signing process and teacher professionalism.
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