In search of the excellent literature teacher: An inductive approach to constructing professional teaching standards

Witte, T. C. H. & Jansen, E. P. W. A., 2015, In : Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice. 21, 5, p. 565-583 18 p.

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  • In search of the excellent literature teacher

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This study makes a contribution to the development of empirically based, domain-specific teaching standards that are acknowledged by the professional community of teachers and which, therefore, have a good chance of being successfully implemented and used for professional development purposes. It was prompted by the resistance on the part of many teachers to the one-size-fits-all teaching standards imposed on them from above. We, therefore, looked for an alternative and canvassed teacher opinion about what makes an excellent literature teacher. Because our standards will be used to evaluate the profession, we also wished to know to what extent teachers satisfy (or would like to satisfy) their own ideal, and which factors influence their professional development. Contrary to earlier studies, we found that the professional community of literature teachers hold widely shared ideas about what constitutes excellence in their profession. We also found that almost 40% felt that their own level of professionalism fell far short of excellence, but that their professional growth was primarily hampered by external, contextual factors. If the government wishes to promote teacher ‘excellence’, the infrastructure for professional development will need to change so that teachers can acquire the knowledge and skills embodied in the teaching standards
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-583
Number of pages18
JournalTeachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice
Issue number5
Early online date16-Mar-2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • professional development; teacher evaluation; teacher competences; domain-specific teacher standards; literature education

ID: 16882144