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Building a Research-Rich Teaching Profession

The Promises and Challenges of Doctoral Studies as a Form of Teacher Professional Development


Marta Kowalczuk-Walędziak

This book offers a research-based insight into a unique - and growing - group of teachers: those who have decided to undertake doctoral studies as a part of their ongoing professional development. Drawing on interviews with 30 Polish teachers with PhDs, this book illustrates how the doctorate is an important vehicle for strengthening teachers’ skills and knowledge, leading them to implement research-based teaching and learning pedagogies in their classrooms. Given these promising findings, this text ultimately seeks to identify implications for policy and practice in the process of building a truly research-rich teaching profession. After all, it is time to rethink the current doctoral education landscape, with the goal of enriching the relationship between research and practice.


This much-needed new book presents the doctorate as an unexplored area of the teacher’s professional learning journey. However, this book is much more than just a presentation of structures and theoretical frameworks: it makes visible the personal perspectives and dilemmas of teachers with PhDs. With precision and insight, Kowalczuk-Walędziak unpicks the essential relationship between theory and practice that she believes can be facilitated by teachers’ doctoral research.

Erika Kopp, Associate Professor, Eötvös Lorand University, Hungary

At a time when there are demands for teachers around the world to become increasingly skilful and knowledgeable, this book provides an invaluable insight into how this may be achieved through their pursuit of doctoral studies. A close study of a sample of teachers in Poland [...] reveals rich insights to their motivations, experiences and the impact on their professional work. Throughout Kowalczuk-Walędziak’s work, the authentic voices of these teachers bring great life to the text. By grounding the study in an impressive range of relevant international scholarship, Kowalczuk-Walędziak has written a book that will be of enormous interest to teachers, teacher educators and policymakers across the globe. It provides a major - and groundbreaking - contribution to the development of teaching as a research-rich profession.

Ian Menter, Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education, University of Oxford, Former President of the British Educational Research Association

Kowalczuk-Walędziak’s book offers a timely and well-designed research study into the challenges, rewards, doubts, and successes experienced by teachers who continue their professional development through PhD studies. The results, vividly illustrated by quotes directly from interviews, dot every ‘i’ in the discussion about the value of training teachers in academic research practices. They also provide greatly needed new perspectives on the re-invention of PhD training in order to better address the expectations of professional practice in the twenty-first century.

Zanda Rubene, Professor and Director of PhD Programmes in Educational Studies, University of Latvia

This is [...] an excellent contribution to the field of teacher education [...]. The presented study, via listening to teachers’ voices, reveals the constraints and possibilities of doctoral studies in changing teachers’ professional identities and promoting improvements in their educational practices with real benefits for students and schools. I strongly recommend a careful reading of this work by all who are interested in doctoral studies, teachers’ education, and educational and social issues in general.

Fátima Pereira, Associate Professor, University of Porto, Portugal