Developing Courage

Part of the Professional Learning and Development in Schools and Higher Education book series (PROD, volume 2)

Why begin a chapter that is concerned with the development of professional courage by making a reference to trust? Trust requires us to expose ourselves to our professional peers. We shall argue that trust itself takes courage because in its manifestation it is necessary that we acknowledge our vulnerabilities, our sensibilities and our frailties. It is difficult to trust our colleagues and for them to trust us if we mask who we are and what it is that we believe. Hoy and Tarter (2004) in the article from which the quote is taken argue that trust is fundamental to organisational justice in schools. We would go further and claim that it is courage, which allows trust to grow and flourish, that is the bedrock of professional collegiality whether in schools or academic institutions such as universities. We are, in effect, deeply interested in notions of how courage can be manifest in our behaviours as educators, in particular, in relation to being educators with a mission to investigate with honesty and integrity the circumstances of our practice. Like trust, we pay little attention to courage until it is not there.

One might argue that courage has always been required of dedicated educators; courage to commit themselves fully to their practice and all that it entails. However, we assert that in this age of compliance, which presses upon practitioners to conform to the wishes and edicts of others, it becomes an essential feature of teachers' work. Engaging in inquiry can unveil uncomfortable truths and reveal policies and procedures that may not be in the best interests of either students or their teachers.


Young People Social Capital Procedural Justice Professional Learning Organisational Justice 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneyFaculty of Education & Social WorkTempeAustralia
  2. 2.University of SydneyFaculty of Education & Social WorkBalmainAustralia

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