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Paradoxes of in-school teacher coaching by outsiders

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Securing the quality of Australian education is a key policy target, and teaching workforce development has long been identified as the means to that end. This case of personalised professional learning in a school through a series of interactions between teachers and university-employed teacher educators (as academic coaches) speaks to teachers’ perceptions of being on the receiving end of such policy targets. Teachers’ experiences of working with an external coach was transformative for some, valuable for most, but not suited to everybody. The analysis of teacher participant data revealed three paradoxes in the delicate matters of power, choice and agency associated with being coached by outsiders. We apply a Bourdieuan lens of ‘symbolic power’ to make sense of these inherent power relations, and anticipate such insights will be informative to teacher educators involved in developing teacher coaching programs in the future, both at system and school levels.

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  1. The research was approved by the University’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

  2. The Group of Eight (Go8) comprises Australia’s leading research-intensive universities. For further information see:


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Funding was provided by Monash University.

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Correspondence to Michelle Ludecke.

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Ludecke, M., Rutherford, S., Sawatzki, C. et al. Paradoxes of in-school teacher coaching by outsiders. Aust. Educ. Res. 49, 323–345 (2022).

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