Volume 36, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1567-7109
  • E-ISSN: 2468-1652



The Flemish Inspectorate monitors and stimulates the quality of education on the basis of a system of school inspections. Research shows that these evaluations [assessments] have an important influence on the origin of emotions and can cause professional insecurity, anxiety and stress among teachers. Other studies report a change in the teachers’ professional self-understanding. This qualitative study investigates the impact of school inspections on the emotions and the professional self-understanding of secondary school teachers. Research data were collected through 16 semi-structured in-depth interviews in eight different schools. The emotional burden of the school inspection was confirmed by the teachers and various influences to the professional self-understanding of teachers has been clarified with the introduction of four typologies of reactions: ‘confident’, ‘action-oriented’, ‘shocked’ and ‘defeated’ teachers. At school level, the results show that schools with a high policymaking capacity fostered a positive perception of the audit. On the other hand, schools with low policymaking capacities struggled to moderate in the heavy emotional burden during a school inspection. These findings suggest that the three indicators of school policymaking capacities that are considered in this study (shared leadership, shared goal purpose and professional (supporting) relationships) are important to create a positive learning experience at a school inspection. The judgement of the Inspectorate has also a decisive impact on the teachers’ responses. The results show that a positive inspection judgement has a clear positive and affirmative influence on the professional self-understanding of teachers, while negative feedback puts their professional self-understanding to the test.


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