Power and perspective: the discourse of professional development school literature


This paper reports on the results of a study in which the discourse within 75 professional development school (PDS)-related publications was examined to determine where the power, influence, and representation lies in PDS partnerships, as indicated by how those partnerships are described in writing. The results found that while university faculty overwhelmingly wrote the articles, their perspectives and experiences were under-represented in the literature and, moreover, their influence within the partnerships appeared to be negligible. School and university administrators were similarly absent in PDS writing. Significantly, university authors and researchers represented themselves in a way that was highly deferential to practitioners and denigrated the role of theory and research in PDS work. In contrast to the traditional image of university dominance of partnerships, this research suggests that the real power and influence in PDS partnerships are the classroom teachers. The paper concludes with suggestions for creating a new, shared PDS discourse that tries to blur the artificial lines between theory and practice.


Childhood Education and Family Studies

Document Type





discourse analysis, professional development schools, School-University partnerships, teacher education

Publication Date


Journal Title

Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education