The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teaching and Teacher Education

The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teaching and Teacher Education

The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teaching and Teacher Education

The Good Teacher: Dominant Discourses in Teaching and Teacher Education


Moore's insightful text explores and makes better sense of professional practice by examining that practice in the context of popular views. The book identifies and elaborates three dominant discourses of good teaching:* the competent craftsperson, currently favoured by central governments* the reflective practitioner, which continues to get widespread support among teacher trainers and educators* the charismatic subject, whose popular appeal is evidenced in filmic and other media representations of teaching.All of these are critiqued on the basis of their capacity both to help and to hinder improved practice and understandings of practice. In particular, it is argued that the discourses all have a tendency, if not checked, to over-emphasise the individual teacher's or student teacher's responsibility for successful and unsuccessful classroom encounters, and to understate the role of the wider society and education system in such successes and failures.Winner of a Society for Education Studies book prize in 2005, this is a well-informed source of advice and support for teachers and anyone considering teaching as a career.


The question 'What makes a good teacher?' is just about the most important in education…. We do know some of the answers to the questio…and our most urgent objective should be to establish the conditions under which the best existing practice can be spread more widely.

(Lord Boyle, Introduction to Kemble 1971, pp. 9, 11)

Revealed: the ideal teacher.

(Headline in the Times Educational Supplement, 16 June 2000, p. 5,
announcing the publication of Hay McBer 2000)

Being a good teacher: competent and reflective practitioners

The last three decades have seen a plethora of publications about how to teach and about how to teach teachers. While many of these have concentrated on the organisation and broad content of courses of teacher education (NUT 1976; DES 1981; Alexander et al. 1984), others have fallen into the category of the teaching guide, offering tips and advice to inexperienced teachers on such matters as managing pupils' learning and behaviour, marking and assessing pupils' work, and long- and short-term lesson planning (e.g. Cohen and Manion 1977; Stephens and Crawley 1994). Such publications may be said to support a particular model of teaching and of initial and continuing teacher education that prioritises the notion of the teacher as trained 'craftsperson' (Marland 1975).

These publications sit not uncomfortably with another model of teaching and teacher education that has recently enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with government agencies in Britain and elsewhere: that of the 'competent' teacher (Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education 1992; Department for Education and Employment 1997a, 1997b; Teacher Training Agency 1998). According to this model, teachers are trained in the acquisition of certain competences related to aspects of classroom management, long-term, medium-term and short-term planning, developing and sharing subject knowledge, and assessing, recording and reporting students' work-

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