Source: Teacher Development, Vol. 17, No. 3, 322–333, 2013
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This article investigate teacher educators’ views of current trends and their consequences for teacher education futures.
A qualitative interpretive paradigm was used for this study. The sample of international teacher educators was identified using criteria such as publication and grant records as well as a professional interest in and knowledge about teacher education futures. A total of 12 teacher education experts participated: eight female and four male.
Interviews were conducted with a sample of expert teacher educators drawn from eight countries: Australia, Chile, Germany, Singapore, The Netherlands, Turkey, the UK and the USA.
The findings reported give voice to the expert participants.
Two major fields of change are identified and these are used to imagine different futures through the use of a two-dimensional model. The two major fields identified are a continuum on location of teacher education, from school based to university based, and a continuum on autonomy and regulation, ranging from high government regulation to self-regulation by the profession.
The scenarios are provided here to provoke teacher educators to critique current trends and inform future directions. In both scenarios teacher education has moved to embrace twenty-first-century learning and learning technologies.
In this scenario, teacher education is located in schools and is designed to contribute to economic productivity and emphasise vocational preparation. Teacher interns are supported by well-trained, school-based educators who are expert practitioners rather than intellectuals. Teacher education is highly focused with a practitioner-technicist emphasis informed by classroom experience. Among teacher educators, deep subject matter knowledge is replaced by extensive curriculum knowledge which is implemented without critique. There are few teacher educators in universities, no education faculties and little capacity for education research in universities.
In this scenario, teacher education is located mainly in universities. Programs are designed to prepare agents of change and emphasise critical thinking. Teacher interns are supported both by university staff and school-based mentor teachers. Teacher education deals with broad social and philosophical issues and their pedagogical implications. In response to competition from non-university teacher education providers, there is increasing regulation specifying minimum standards for teacher education programs and staff. Graduates of these programs are flexible learners with diverse employment opportunities, in and outside of schools. Student intake into programs is a function of student demand for teaching courses. There is a division of responsibility between teacher educator researchers and clinical practitioners. Teacher educators are engaged primarily in research.
The many different trends are playing out in different ways in different countries. In general, the experts interviewed indicated that some trends appear more productive than others, for example, the imposition of regulations and control by the state is generally considered less productive than highly collaborative engagement among governments, teacher education providers and schools. The findings and scenarios provided in this paper are aimed at provoking discussion about ways to enhance teacher education.