London Metropolitan University Research Institutes


Teachers' discourses on competition and cooperation: comparative study of the UK, Hungary and Slovenia

Funded by:

the British Academy, the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences


January 2002 - March 2005

This project examines teachers' professional and personal discourses in the areas of competition, cooperation, enterprise and citizenship in the changing contexts of European societies. There are strong political and social pressures on the educational systems in each of the three countries involved in this study to prepare future citizens to become 'globally competitive', and at the same time to develop civic skills of tolerance, granting each other rights and behaving towards others responsibly. There is a tension between 'enterprise education' (in which individualism is accorded particular status and esteem) and 'citizenship education' (where consideration for others and the social good are held to be of value). Teachers' own culture is traditionally more often inclined towards community-oriented values than to those of enterprise and competition.

The project examines:

primary and secondary teachers' constructions and behaviour in all three states
their personal constructs of competition, collaboration, enterprise and citizenship
their construction of curriculum discourses in these areas
how the personal and the professional are resolved or reconciled when they are seen to be in competition

We are relating these to recent cultural and social patterns in the respective societies, and will make suggestions as to how teachers can learn from each other and develop ways of using personal resources to maintain their professional positions.

We have observed classroom teaching in primary schools (9 - 10 year olds) and secondary schools (14-15 year olds) in each country, and then interviewed teachers and focus groups of boys and girls from each class. We have carried out associative analysis (following Szalay's Associative Group Analysis technique) with 50 primary and 50 secondary teachers in each of the three countries, around the theme words 'competition', 'cooperation', 'enterprise' and 'citizenship'.


Project Team:

Alistair Ross
Merryn Hutchings
Barbara Read
Sarah Adam

Marta Fulop (Institute for Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences and University of Budapest)
Mihály Berkics (Institute for Psychology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)

Marjanca Pergar Kuscer (University of Ljubljana)
Cveta Razdevsek-Pucko (University of Ljubljana)


Alistair Ross -


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