Challenging policy, rethinking practice; or, struggling for the soul of teacher education

William Green, Jo-Anne Reid, Marie Brennan

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)

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The ongoing and escalating struggle for control of teacher education in countries around the world reflects the difficult and contested position of teacher education within what is experienced as a chaotic churn of reform. In countries all around the world, government
has sought to constrain and ‘improve’ teacher education in the interests of competitive (inter)national struggles for economic power. Within the terms of this struggle between teacher education and the global state, we argue here that there is an urgent need for attention to the everyday work of teacher educators, their students, and the school systems they serve – the practice of teacher education, which is to say, the ‘soul’ or animus that makes teacher education what it is. Too often, however, it is precisely this that is overlooked in discussions of accreditation, standards and international benchmarks. Abstracted, reified, denatured and increasingly devalued in policy, teacher
education is indeed struggling to thrive as an intellectual and practical endeavour in a policy context that increasingly seeks to render it as an instrumental field.
How best to respond to all this? What is the range of theoretical resources available to us, as we take up the struggle from within the field? Our argument here is that a reconceptualised view of professional practice offers real possibilities for regenerating teacher education. In what follows, we firstly lay out the contemporary policy scene as we see it, with specific reference to teacher education reform, especially, but not exclusively, in our own Australian context. We then present a particular account of practice theory and philosophy as we have been developing it over recent years, with
regard to professional education more generally. We conclude by proposing the power of a theory of professional practice as a means of strengthening the work of teacher education, underlining the important need for such a coherent conceptual base when what is at issue here, fundamentally, is a struggle for the soul of teacher education, with much more at stake than simply just another bureaucratic-governmental program, or business as usual.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe struggle for teacher education
Subtitle of host publicationInternational perspectives on governance and reforms
EditorsTom Are Trippestad, Anja Swennen, Tobias Werler
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781474285544, 9781474285551
ISBN (Print)9781474285537
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameReinventing teacher education

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    Green, W., Reid, J-A., & Brennan, M. (2017). Challenging policy, rethinking practice; or, struggling for the soul of teacher education. In T. A. Trippestad, A. Swennen, & T. Werler (Eds.), The struggle for teacher education: International perspectives on governance and reforms (1st ed., pp. 39-55). (Reinventing teacher education). Bloomsbury Academic.