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Moral Authorship: research & publications

The topic of my PhD research is:

Get a grip on the moral authorship of people professionals, more specific: novice teachers in primary education.

Professional performance by (novice) teachers requires that they know why they are doing what they do and why they consider their approach worthwhile or important. Being aware of their professional values and drives enables (novice) teachers to explain why their work is “good work”. In my research, I type the process of choice, reflection and anticipation of practical wisdom (Education Council, 2013) as “moral authorship” (Tappan & Brown, 1989) to emphasise the teacher’s initiative. It is the teacher that matters, being a ‘potential critical person’ ( Kelchtermans, 1994).

The research focuses on understanding the characteristics of moral authorship of (novice) teachers and the manner and extent to which moral authorship is recognisable in the narratives of these teachers.


Three studies were conducted:

The first empirical study explores which issues novice teachers remember, express and indicate as issues that affect the development of their responsibility, concern or perspectives of the requirements they experience. Four distinctive situations (set by Dutch professional protocol) are discussed in an interview of about 75 minutes with the help of eliciting questions. The study has resulted in two publications.


In the second study, the concept of moral authorship and the concept of moral involvement were elaborated. The study resulted in two publications.

In the third study, a questionnaire for self-assessment on moral authorship is developed and tested. Beginning teachers and more experienced teachers are asked to fill in the questionnaire. In November 2017, the research results were reported at the AME conference in St. Louis, USA. and to a publication in a Journal. 

A second publication describes 'teachers talk' of participants, who received the Personal Profile Moral Authorship, and shared reflective and reflexive feedback about their professional development with their colleagues. 

The various sub-studies provide, on the one hand, publications for international scientific journals about educational research and, on the other hand, some practical tools that can be used in education and for in-service training to scaffold the professional development.

The various published and submitted articles will be bundled and used as a core of my thesis for this PhD-research.

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