Positioning adult educators in discourses of professional development


Nicoll K & Edwards R (2012) Positioning adult educators in discourses of professional development. Studies in Continuing Education, 34 (3), pp. 233-249.

This article explores the discursive work done by different notions of professional development in adult education. In particular we outline the ways in which the discourses of technical expertise, competence and reflective practice are deployed to mobilise professional practices and identities in particular ways and position certain practices and dispositions as specifically professional. We suggest that these discourses help to shape the negotiations between economies of performance and ecologies of practice within which professionals operate. We argue that much of this work is implicit in the pedagogies and curriculum of programmes for adult educators and that there is a need for detailed empirical research on the pedagogies of professional development and practice in adult education. With moves in Europe to develop professional standards for adult educators we suggest that studying the rhetoric of professional development provides an opportunity to open some existing diverse practices to new forms of scrutiny.

professional development; rhetorical analysis; expertise; competence; reflective practice

Studies in Continuing Education: Volume 34, Issue 3

Publication date30/11/2012
PublisherTaylor and Francis