A characteristic recent statement about the conditions under which teachers can be expected to engage in professional and curriculum development runs thus:
If classrooms are to become communities of active enquiring learners, the teachers who provide the leadership and guidance in such classrooms must themselves have professional development opportunities that are also enquiry-oriented and collaborative. This means, first, that they should be encouraged to become researchers in their own classrooms, carrying out inquiries about student learning and the conditions and practices which most effectively support it. And, secondly, there must be institutional conditions which enable them to share the results of their inquiries with their colleagues in an ongoing attempt to create a better curriculum guided by collaboratively determined goals. (Wells, 1989, p. 15)
In writing this, Gordon Wells cites Fullan’s work (1982) but he might equally have called upon the support of other writers. Stenhouse (1975), for example, argued strongly that all teachers should be researchers, not by adding new activities to their role as teachers but by treating everything they undertake as hypotheses to be tested. Earlier still, Hoyle (1975) had invented the concept of the ‘extended professional’ who is interested in the principles underlying the teacher’s role, and not merely devoted to carrying out current school policies. I am not wishing to question these admirably liberal views; indeed, I have elsewhere expressed similar ones. What I am interested in exploring is the reason why teachers who fit this pattern are comparatively rare.