What’s good enough? Teacher education and the practice challenge

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    The idea of ‘good enough’ teacher education is taken from the work of Donald Winnicott, a British psychoanalyst who proposed the idea of ‘the good enough mother’ (Winnicott in The family and individual development, Tavistock, London, 1965) in response to popular views of the time that good mothers all shared certain selfless characteristics, with negative effects for all those who failed to meet this impossible ideal of perfect mothering. I will argue that education researchers and professionals are now in a position to go beyond ‘the crisis in teacher education’ (that has once again this year been beaten up into a frenzy with the ATAR whisk) and begin to claim space for a reconceptualised teacher education, based on practice theory, which can take us forward with renewed energy and passion to challenge an impossible ideal of perfect teaching. As researchers, we need to mobilise our intellectual resources to address our colleagues in the field—our discipline leaders, our university managers, Deans, Vice Chancellors and our systems-based colleagues—to produce some effective self-talk about the place, nature and role of teacher education in this country. I will argue for the idea of a ‘good enough’ teacher education, one that explicitly aims to produce what I call, perhaps provocatively, a ‘Good Enough’ teacher—someone who knows she can never be fully prepared for the schools of today; who knows she is not ‘classroom-ready’ when she starts her career; but who is well prepared for her struggle every day, in and through her practice, to know and meet the needs of her students.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)715-734
    Number of pages20
    JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
    Early online date10 Sep 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


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