1st Edition

Working with Uncertainty for Educational Change Orientations for Professional Practice

Edited By Carmel Conn, Bethan Mitchell, Matt Hutt Copyright 2025
    200 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Working with Uncertainty for Educational Change explores the liberating possibilities for those who seek to embrace existing research into uncertainty and complexity at diverse levels in the world of education.

    The lives of education professionals are built upon a multitude of decision-making events that frame each working day. With a range of expert contributors, this insightful book brings together varied perspectives on the nature of complexity within educational contexts, focusing particularly on the emotional work involved in change. Organised into two major parts, its first part focuses on the intellectual challenge of thinking about uncertainty by exploring the dominant discourses of certainty in the field of education. The second part, on the other hand, considers how we can embrace uncertainty within practice by exploring conditions that support reflection, agency and acceptance of ambiguity.

    Presenting themes on a wide range of educational issues including curriculum, pedagogy, equity, leadership and professional learning, this book will appeal to teachers, educational leaders, practitioners and researchers as well as students on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes with an education focus.

    1. Introduction: Perspectives on complexity within educational systems
    Carmel Conn, Bethan Mitchell, Matt Hutt

    PART I: Challenging discourses of certainty

    2. Research in schools and the lure of the transcendent
    Dylan Adams, Viv John

    3. A sociomaterial approach to teacher resilience
    Bethan Mitchell, Chloe Shu Hua Yeh

    4. School improvement as narrative: Telling tales on the road from the definitive to the provisional
    Matt Hutt

    5. Some glimpses into the uncertain comforts of ‘new’ educational theories and practices: Canadian reflections
    David W. Jardine

    PART II: Conditions of possibility for practice

    6. Curriculum for Wales: Learning from medical education
    Bethan Mitchell

    7. Educative leadership – prioritising learning, getting comfortable with uncertainty and privileging relationships – reflections for leaders in education
    Alex Morgan, Emmajane Milton, Matt Hutt

    8. Navigating curriculum uncertainty for teacher agency
    Sue Horder, Tomos G. ap Sion, Lisa Formby, Karen Rhys Jones

    9. New materialist and diffractive perspectives on pedagogy and practice in early childhood science education
    Rebecca Digby

    10. Margins of manoeuvrability for inclusive education
    Carmel Conn, Alison Murphy, Charlotte Greenway


    Carmel Conn is Associate Professor in Inclusive Pedagogy at the University of South Wales, UK.

    Bethan Mitchell is Senior Lecturer and Course Leader at the University of South Wales, UK.

    Matt Hutt is Head of Professional Learning in Education at the University of South Wales, UK.

    “Education reform often manifests itself in ways that discount the complexities, subtleties, and challenges of change at scale.  Policy solutions are sought and enthusiastically borrowed, in education, without any real consideration of the conflicting contextual and cultural influences that rage within all systems. This book uses the lens of uncertainty to critically, but powerfully, re-evaluate the deep complexities that define any system. Theoretically rich and practically grounded, this book reminds us that uncertainty and complexity are to be embraced not ignored, if meaningful educational change is the goal.”

    Alma Harris, Professor, Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy, UK