The early professional learning of teachers: a model beginning J IM M cNAL LY, AL L AN BLAKE , N ICK B OREHAM, PET ER COPE ,
Professional standards in teaching do not have an explicit theoretical or research-informed foundation. Their typical competence-based framework has been the object of much criticism in the academic literature (Stronach et al. 1994, 2002; Ball 2003) precisely because they are not based on beginners’ experiences of learning to teach but do tend to be held up as the benchmark and reference documentation for that process. The statutory system of competences is at odds with an extensive literature that identifies teachers’ knowledge as being personal, context-rich and elusive (Russell and Bullock 1999), involving processes of identity formation, emotionality (Hargreaves 1998) and intrinsic purpose. The Early Professional Learning (EPL) project was conceived therefore to explore the extent to which a grounded theory of early teacher learning could enhance the competence-based model for new teachers and contribute to current theoretical and practical formulations of that process.