Nomadic pedagogies and possibilities for precarious times: Taking a stance against conformity in Australian initial teacher education

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


The twenty-first century has borne witness to sustained global crises. Environmental devastation, growing economic disparity, the rise of popularism and nationalism, xenophobia, threats to national and resource security and the precarity of human existence wound up in these phenomena characterise this time and reside in tension with unparalleled global interconnectedness and mobility. We are living in a time when our very survival relies on our capacity – the capacity of individuals and collectives – to act for social change. As schools and schooling are instruments of nation building, teachers have an important role to play in preparing young people to navigate the challenges cloaked in the futures they face and as such, schooling and teachers are increasingly required to develop the necessary skills in young people to help them navigate increasingly uncertain futures. Despite the urgent need for social change to address social, cultural, environmental and economic injustice, and the obvious role of education in these efforts, teaching and learning continues to be defined by conformity. Problematic notions of expected outcomes along predetermined learning continuums, standardised assessment regimes and the omnipresent need for accountability currently direct teachers’ work in many schools in Australia and elsewhere. The tension between systems of conformity and the need to develop adaptable, critical and creative thinkers binds teachers’ work in impossible ways.

This paper takes an autoethnographic approach to inquire into my experiences as an early career academic working in teacher education. I take up nomadic theory to propose pedagogies of possibility in a time characterised by impossibility. Through a critical examination of my own practice, I propose that the cultivation of spaces open to reimagining curriculum directives and co-authoring complex interpretations of education policy can be mobilised as an antidote to the dogma of neoliberal conformity that currently dictates teaching and learning in many education settings today. In cultivating pedagogies that are mobile and that can mobilise in-between contradictory spaces, teacher educators, emerging teachers, practicing teachers and young people.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 01 Dec 2022
EventAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022: National Conference - University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 27 Nov 202201 Dec 2022


ConferenceAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2022
Abbreviated titleTransforming the future of education: The role of research
OtherThe Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) is excited to announce its first face-to-face conference in two years. It will take place on Sunday 27 November – Thursday 1 December (Pre-Conference: 27 November) at the University of South Australia, City West Campus. 

The AARE 2022 Conference is SOLD OUT! Please contact ConferenceNational via email if you would like to join the wait list.

Taken-for-granted ways of thinking and working in early learning settings, schools, universities and other sites of formal and informal education have been disrupted in the context of the global COVID-19 pandemic, urgent climate change challenges, the policy drive towards technological solutions and increasing social and economic ruptures. One of the most urgent ongoing questions in these times is how to live with others in a world of plurality and difference? This year’s conference theme invites education researchers to reimagine their ways of thinking and working to interrupt or disrupt the taken-for-granted and to be research informing. We invite papers to consider different ways to engage with the conference theme of ‘Transforming the Future of Education – the Role of Research’.

Following AARE’s first virtual conference in 2021, this year’s event will be co-hosted with the University of South Australia and celebrate the return to a face-to-face forum. The conference will offer delegates the opportunity to connect, network, share and learn in the delightful city of Adelaide.
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