Professionalism and Teachers as Designers1
In the mid 1980s, talk about teachers as professionals started among central bureaucrats and politicians in Sweden. After several decades of denying teachers’ knowledge (i.e., when teachers were seen as problems rather than problem solvers) they were now considered (as professionals) to be the solution to many of the problems at hand. From a situation in which teachers were attributed almost no knowledge, they were suddenly ascribed knowledge of everything important for school development. Not until 1990 did teacher unions start to discuss professionalism (in 1995 one of the unions started a campaign: ‘Teachers’ Lift Sweden’). Thus the discussion of teachers as professionals was top–down and not initiated by teachers. This aspect must be kept in mind when discussing teacher professionalism. The discussion may reveal more about the changing relation between the State and the teachers than about the quality of teachers’ work.