Tomorrow's Teachers: International and Critical Perspectives on Teacher Education

By Alan G. Scott; John G. Freeman-Moir | Go to book overview

Contemporary Issues and Imperatives
Teacher Education in Australia

Lindsay Parry and Mia O'Brien


Introduction

Teacher education in Australia is currently shaped by a number of contentious educational issues and imperatives. Amongst the most pressing of these are the issues of competencies and national standards, government allocation of funding and resources, the decentralisation of schooling, and the significant changes in the nature of teachers' work that result from shifts in educational policies and provision. Considered together, they are powerful, enduring and far-reaching issues that have the potential to bring about substantive changes to teacher education as it is currently conceived and practised.

A review of these issues and imperatives within a broader international milieu highlights a global trend, the most profound implications of which have only recently been emphasised. Indeed, in this chapter we argue that they reflect a worldwide shift towards market-driven philosophies and practices that emphasise competition, productivity and market-based management, and which challenge the role of educational provision in Australia.

In developing a platform of critique, we first provide an overview of and commentary on trends in Australian education. We then compare similar trends evident within educational reforms in the United Kingdom as they have been analysed within a 'market-style framework of public management' ( Mahony, 1997). In doing so, we develop an analysis of recent movements in the Australian educational context that relate to emerging issues of social justice and comprehensive schooling. Finally, we review the implications for teacher education in terms of the emerging imperatives of an increasingly competitive and market-style educational context.


Trends in Australian Education

National standards in education

The Hobart Declaration on Schooling ( Australian Education Council, 1989) heralded agreement on education matters across the states and territories in Australia. This accord flowed on into the current decade through several phases of national reform driven by a federal government intent on microeconomic reform in the education sector ( Hinton, 1997; Marginson, 1997). The first of

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