The Working of Professional Development of Teachers in Panama Between Bureaucratic and Professional Areas

The Panamanian educational system implements both a bureaucratic and a professional logic when teachers’ professional development takes place. In this context, the aim is to contribute to the understanding of bureaucratic and professional areas evidenced in the actions of educational members at the...

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Main Author: Martínez de León, Mitzilla
Format: Artículo
Language: Español
Published: Facutad de Educación, Universidad de Costa Rica 2013
Subjects:
Online Access: http://revistas.ucr.ac.cr/index.php/educacion/article/view/10635
http://hdl.handle.net/10669/23102
Summary: The Panamanian educational system implements both a bureaucratic and a professional logic when teachers’ professional development takes place. In this context, the aim is to contribute to the understanding of bureaucratic and professional areas evidenced in the actions of educational members at the different institutional levels (central, regional, local) in order to work on teachers’ professional development. The study used a qualitative approach; thus, in-depth interviews were done, allowing the consideration of representations (opinions, ideas) of different educational actors about the dynamics of professional development. Content analysis technique, used to treat interviews, showed that the presence of the two logics (bureaucratic and professional) generates a positive tension. Indeed, it is proved that this tension guides educational actors in central, regional and local levels to make the logics co-exist thus allowing the articulation of its principles: centralization-control (bureaucratic logic) and decentralization-autonomy (professional logic). However, the co-existence of these areas differs according to their functionality in the different institutional levels (central, regional, local). Additionally, it is stressed that “functional co-existence” together with an “institutional communication” fosters professional development according to the role (controlling-coordinating, intermediary, operator) that educational actors have in the institution. Likewise, the organizational logic’s co-existence allows the educational institution to maintain the purpose of professional development, within the legal framework and, at the same time, gives the chance to educational actors and external collaborators to act with some autonomy.