The representations of teachers’ role identity: A study on the “professional common sense”

Alessia Rochira, Marco Guidi, Mini Terri Mannarini, Sergio Salvatore


Between 2000 and 2001, the Italian education system underwent an important transformation implementing organizational autonomy so as schools were allowed to manage programs and interventions independently, although in line with standards from the National Education System. Because of their mediating positioning in-between technical and lay spheres, teachers have been charged to translate legal innovation into concrete forms thus challenging more or less established systems of shared meanings, representations and practices – i.e. “professional common sense” – across expert and commonsensical systems of knowledge. In line with social representations theory, this paper examines professional common sense of teachers interweaving representations of their role and professional identity as well as of education function and school contexts. A survey was conducted with 829 teachers (80% female) drawn from 29 education institutions (primary, middle, and high school) throughout Italy. Results from multidimensional data analysis unveiled that teachers’ “professional common sense” produces specific combinations of representational contents that differently mediate either the relation with other experts – school organization and their components – or the relation with lay persons, i.e. students and their parents.


school reform; legal innovation; professional common sense; social representations; professional identity.

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Rivista di Psicologia Clinica. Teoria e metodi dell'intervento

Rivista Telematica a Carattere Scientifico Registrazione presso il Tribunale civile di Roma (n.149/2006 del 17/03/2006)

ISSN 1828-9363