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

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

which to see and/or understand the world are often labelled as radical, crazy or heretical.

While it might be attractive for many teacher educators to cling to the rock of ontological security, structural forces at work in 'new times' are shaking them loose from that rock. As outlined earlier, the changed nature of academic work is one such destabilising force. For some teacher educators who, until the late- 1980s, worked in colleges of advanced education or teachers' colleges, the change to the university sector has been accompanied by considerable uncertainty and anxiety. Expectations to carry out research and to publish in refereed academic and professional journals while exciting for some are aversive in the extreme to others. Moreover, also as noted earlier, the increasing expectation that teacher education move towards flexible delivery and 'lean' pedagogies (read large lectures and few tutorials) implicitly, at least, devalues the very pedagogical practices that many teacher educators have practised and valued for years.

Expecting the many teacher educators who are already under threat from challenges to tradition and manufactured uncertainty ( Giddens, 1991) to embrace alternative paradigms for viewing the world is, I admit, a 'big ask'. When your professional self is threatened by institutional changes over which you have no control and little say, it is hardly likely that you will be open to challenges to your very way of viewing the world. Perhaps it will require a generational shift. As the baby-boomer teacher educators retire, they will be replaced by a new generation of teacher educators who themselves are a product of new times. This change, however, might have little impact because many of these new teacher educators will need to prove themselves (publish and so on) within the context that rewards conformity to canon and punishes 'other' representations of reality. In this sense, the institutional press will continue to shape professional identities long after its use-by date.

Perhaps the trick for teacher education as it enters the new millennium is to avoid steering its course by taking the short-sighted view through the rear vision mirror and, instead, to look further back, and even sideways, to non-western cultures for some direction for the future.


References

Bartlett L ( 1992) "Vision and revision: a competency-based scheme for the teaching profession". Journal of Teaching Practice, 12 ( 1), 58-81.

Bates R ( 1994, 25-27 October) Teacher Education: an international perspective. Paper presented at New Zealand Council for Teacher Education National Conference, Wellington.

Chopra D ( 1993) Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. Sydney: Random House.

Covey S ( 1990) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: restoring the character ethic. Melbourne, VC: The Business Library.

Cruickshank D ( 1987) Reflective Thinking: the preparation of student teachers. Reston, VA: Association of Teacher Educators.

Currie J ( 1996, May) The Effects of Globalisation on 1990s Academics in Greedy Institutions: overworked, stressed out, marginalised and demoralised. Unpublished paper presented at 9th World Congress of Comparative Education, University of Sydney.

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