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

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

competencies and skills than on broader educational aims and purposes. It also addresses the need for closer collaboration and negotiation among academics, teachers and student teachers ( Churchill et al., 1997; Hogan & Down, 1996; Sealey et al., 1997).

The strength of analysing current developments from within the contexts of marketisation is the capacity to consider the character and parameters of a 'preferred' interpretation of teaching that can be pursued through current processes of educational change ( Seddon, 1997). The challenge for teachers and teacher educators is to balance the market-driven forces of efficiency, effectiveness and productivity with equality of access and quality of services in education.


Conclusions

This chapter has sought to discuss a number of contentious educational issues and imperatives currently shaping teacher education in Australia. It has reviewed the emerging issues of national standards, decentralisation and public/private school funding and the changing nature of teachers' work. Where appropriate, these have been discussed as context-specific issues and situated within a broader international milieu that reveals a global trend towards market-driven paradigms and philosophies.

These issues provide teachers and teacher educators with complex and problematic challenges. First, any redefinition of teachers' work must respond to current concerns regarding the provision of socially responsible and equitable education within the benefits and issues of a market-style public service. The necessity to balance market-driven forces with equality of access and quality of services must be explicitly recognised and addressed. In other words, we need to find ways of balancing efficiency, effectiveness and productivity in education with equity and social justice.

Second, the many mechanisms being put into place to effect contemporary transformations demand that educational professionals at all levels exhibit a range of competencies. The challenge for teacher education is to bring about institutional change within the opposing forces of 'institutional narratives' and the emerging discourse that values diversity, difference, collaboration, democratic decision-making, critique and empowerment. It is likely that national standards and competencies for teachers and teacher educators offer little more than political mechanisms for increased accountability. While accountability and efficiency are essential components of market-style management, their contribution to a comprehensive, socially just and equitable educational context is minimal.

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