The secondary school teacher in New Zealand, 1945-2000 : teacher identity and education reform : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in History at Massey University
This thesis aims to show how the secondary teacher in New Zealand was constituted in discourse through an examination of two major recontextualisations of education, the changes resulting from the Thomas Report (1944), and the Picot Report (1988), and of the collective identity of secondary teachers. Both reports redirected government education policy and regulation and had fundamental implications for teachers' work and the role they were expected to play in education. Secondary teachers resisted both reforms, and in doing so they revealed elements of their conservative, pragmatic and defensive collective identity, which changed in only one significant respect in the time period considered in this study. It took twenty years before the central tenets of the Thomas Report were even close to being universally accepted. Even then, the child-centred philosophy and practice propounded by the Thomas Report, supported by the Currie Report in 1962 and supervised by the gentle discipline of the Department of Education, was likely to have been more honoured in the breach than in the observance by many New Zealand secondary school teachers. In more recent times, the 'neo-liberal', market-driven view of education and teachers, as expressed in the reforms which followed the Picot Report, were stoutly resisted despite the much more rigorous disciplinary techniques employed by the Ministry of Education. This thesis will show that the dominant discourses which constituted the secondary teacher were those of the collective identity of secondary teachers and that these effectively frustrated attempts to impose change on New Zealand secondary teachers and on secondary education.