Research in Teacher Education - Volume 11, No.1 May 2021
We welcome all our readers, new and old, to this tenth anniversary special issue of Research in Teacher Education (RiTE). We have, in this bumper edition, republished every guest writer article and included a 'postscript' from each author written in 2021 reflecting on their original article. This unique collection of work, from some of the most internationally acclaimed scholars in teacher education, focuses on developments in teacher education over the last decade.
We launched this UEL journal in 2011 to address a particular issue that existed at the time in many university-based teacher education departments. Staff working in Initial Teacher Education (ITE), like many of their social work and nursing colleagues, were (and still are) often recruited on the basis of being outstanding practitioners but not necessarily with experience of research or publication. As former teachers, novice university-based teacher educators frequently have vast expertise in schools and colleges in assessment, pedagogy, curriculum and leadership. But when they enter university employment, many find themselves standing side-by-side with colleagues working in other faculties with doctorates and long publication lists. RiTE was established as part of a mechanism to support new colleagues in their professional transition. Today, the journal is read in over 120 different countries (Google Analytics) with articles from our lecturers and students sitting side-by-side with those of Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and their more experienced colleagues in schools, colleges and higher education institutions from around the globe.
We are indebted to all of our guest writers who have helped raise the profile of RiTE and, in doing so, championing the contributions of all its authors. We start this special edition with an article from guest writer, Meg Maguire, (p. 7) that launched the first edition of RiTE in 2011. Meg's article, and the postscript that follows, raised questions and musings based on a consideration of what were (at the time) governmental proposals for reforming teacher education as outlined in the Schools White Paper (2010). Graham Welch's (p. 11) piece critically reflected on the review of the National Curriculum and the introduction of the so-called 'English Baccalaureate'. Stephen Ball, (p. 15) was published in our third edition in 2012, drawing on his earlier work on performativity and critically reflecting on what it means to be an academic in higher education. Jim O'Brien's (p. 18) article provided a critical reflection on, what were at the time, current developments in teacher education in Scotland. In his article, published in 2012, Ian Menter (p. 24) reflected on the future of educational research in light of (at the time) current policy developments related to teacher education in England.
Within the context of a powerful critique on the effects of transnational capitalism on education in 2013, Michael Fielding (p. 27) discussed the pioneering work of Alex Bloom and its implications for radical democratic education. In 2014, David Wray (p. 30) began new research programmes exploring the importance and teaching of handwriting, renewing the concept of readability and evaluating the educational use of mobile learning devices. In his article, David explored some of the background to this problem and reported an investigation into the self-perceived competence in writing of teachers in training. In the same year, Diane Mayer (p. 37) argued that professional standards for teaching and authentic assessment against those standards provide a framing for sustaining the professionalism of teacher education wherein teacher educators control the accountability agenda assuring the profession, governments and the general public of the quality of the graduates they prepare. In a significant shift in tone, Pat Sikes (p. 43) discussed how a commitment to follow C. Wright Mills's (1959) imperative to engage the sociological imagination ethically and critically could shape research agendas. Pat told two stories from her career about research that she, in her own words, didn't so much choose to do but which, rather, seemed to choose her to do it.
Writing from Norway in 2015, Kari Smith (p. 48) elaborated on the understanding of the concept 'research-based' teacher education, arguing that developing teacher educators' research competence was a neglected challenge, as was the need for protected time for teacher educators to engage in research. Simone White (p. 53) examined policy-research tensions and the critique of teacher education researchers before outlining some of the key findings from an Australian policy-maker study. Recommendations were offered as a way for teacher education researchers to begin to mobilise a new set of generative strategies to draw from. In a fascinating guest piece from a team of writers in Canada, Clare Kosnik, Lydia Menna and Pooja Dharamshi (p. 59) discussed their findings from a study on literacy/English teacher educators (LTEs) in four countries: Canada, the United States, England and Australia. In 2017, Louise Archer (p. 64) shared insights from an ongoing research project ('Enterprising Science') in which teachers and researchers had been working collaboratively to develop a pedagogical approach that aimed to meaningfully engage students from socially disadvantaged backgrounds with science in ways that went beyond performative concerns with the learning of science content. And in the same year,
Martin Fautley (p. 68) considered the ways in which school music education has been a topic of discussion in terms of what its purposes are, and how its content matters to a range of stakeholders.
Writing from Australia in 2018, Amanda Berry (p. 73) argued that, both individually and collectively, Teacher Educators need to recognise and take action to assert their professional position as empowered, active and legitimate knowledge-makers about teaching practice. In the same year, former President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA), Gary McCulloch (p. 77) (offered a scintillating analysis of the past, present and future of teacher education drawing on the work of Emile Durkheim. In a provocative thought piece, James Noble-Rogers (p. 80) acknowledged the ideological assaults and turbulence Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers have experienced in recent years and offered suggestions for ways in which ITE could improve in the future. In 2019, guest writers from Germany, Helge Lobler, Markus Maier, and Daniel Markgraf (p. 83) focused on entrepreneurship education and its ability to foster student autonomy and self-reliance. Framed within the current Covid-19 pandemic, Ann MacPhail (p. 90) argued that this crisis has serious implications for all education systems and requires critical engagement from teachers and teacher educators. The author shared with the reader the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic had already reinforced or challenged, and continued to do so, her notion of what it means to be an effective initial teacher educator. And finally, to wrap up this powerful collection, we offer the opening words from Jean Murray's (p. 95) final article in this collection:
as I write in March 2021, children in England have returned to bricks-and-mortar classrooms and student teachers have resumed their 'real world' placements. This, then, is a time of hope, although it is still too early to proclaim the end of this pandemic era, with all its profound and differentiated implications for our educational and personal lives. I am therefore writing here not about learning from the pandemic but about learning in and through its impact on Initial Teacher Education (ITE). I write from a personal viewpoint, but drawing on evidence from research and practice and from hearing the voices of teacher educators in recent webinars and meetings.
And there you have it! An incredible collection of articles for anyone with a passion and commitment to teacher education and the research that underpins it. We thank all our Guest Writers for not just contributing these original articles but for their wonderfully reflective postscripts written in 2021. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the journal and this celebratory edition, an online event is to be held at 5.00pm on 16 June 2021 to mark this very special occasion. The event features many of the guest writers who have contributed to the journal. With a mixture of recorded presentations and live Q&A sessions, delegates can direct questions to some of the biggest names in teacher education. We welcome you to this event (live or in its recorded format) and thank you for supporting our journal.
Cite as: Gerry Czerniawski and David Wells (2021) 'Editorial' Research in Teacher Education, Vol 11(No.1).
What next for English teacher education?
Abstract - Vol. 1. No. 1 APR 2011
Professor Meg Maguire from King's College London has been a guest speaker at one of the seminars run by the Secondary Research Group at the School of Education and Communities. Her research is in the sociology of education, urban education and policy. She has a long-standing interest in the lives of teachers and has explored issues of class, race, gender and age in teachers' social and professional worlds. Meg has conducted Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded research into the experiences of minority ethnic trainee teachers, post-compulsory transitions and multi-agency policy in challenging school exclusion in urban primary schools. In this article she offers some thoughts on the Schools White Paper (DfE 2010) and its potential impact on teacher education.
May 2021 Postscript
In 2011, shortly after the publication of the DfE White Paper, The Importance of Teaching that set out a series of far-reaching reforms for teacher education, I wrote a short piece for RiTE where I raised some of my concerns about English ITE policy. Briefly, these were that teacher education has always been an 'easy' target for government reforms because of its origins and lower status. Can anyone imagine government departments dictating the length and content of medical degrees or producing 'on the job' short routes into the medical profession? Yet almost anyone can become involved in teacher education policy work and its delivery. In the earlier article I raised concerns about teachers being re-constructed as state technicians in the classroom. I based my arguments on related research and the commentaries of other writers in the field. Essentially I shared my anxiety about teaching becoming practical work and the dangers involved in losing the 'accumulated knowledge of education and pedagogical studies'. And so now, where next for English teacher education? Was it and is it to be more of the same?
It is possible to look back and see spaces for possibilities and for some progressive ways of doing ITE in England. Various initiatives such as IT-INSET and the Oxford Partnership were developed and enacted because there was some space for innovation and creativity. While some researchers might argue that these spaces still exist, I would murmur to them gently, 'But, the normative power of the current school curriculum and its assessments, the technologies of datafication and measurement...and the fact that so many people leave teaching nowadays, worn-out and burnt out' seem to suggest otherwise. I would also say that when we look at policy work in ITE (and elsewhere), frequently we simply see the impact of path-dependency where things get tweaked and small changes are made that do little to challenge the status-quo or the way of 'doing' teacher education. Path-dependency stresses the ways in which history and precedent often limit change and where continuity influences ideas for reform. So, changes are often incremental rather than radical. Path dependency also highlights 'the limits to intentional reform which are due to the presence of institutional inertia' (Torfing 2009, 81).
Parts of the story of ITE policy work can sometimes seem to be the rediscovery of older ideas that are reclaimed and recycled as contemporary attempts at problem-solving (such as on-the job-training, the recruitment of new constituencies such as parents, 'good' graduates or retired military personnel). At various points in time, we can see the valorisation of different forms of knowledge and the old trope of theory-practice being endlessly repeated as a warning. Events and crises can be presented as challenges and opportunities for change (Kidd and Murray, 2020) - but maybe not for that much change.
Perhaps the real question about ITE policy in England today is whether we have the collective will and courage to test out different approaches and really learn from what is happening around us in order to break from patterns set in the past. We might be better taking an approach to teacher education that includes 'a will to learn, to critically engage and inquire, to be receptive, to be open, and to actively negotiate the future' (Olssen, 2017: 517). As I wrote last time, time will tell!
The Arts and Humanities and the 'English Baccalaureate': STEAM not STEM
Abstract - Vol. 1. No. 2 Oct 2011
Professor Graham Welch holds the University College London (UCL), Institute of Education Established Chair of Music Education. He is elected Chair of the Society for Education, Music and Psychology Research (SEMPRE), a former President of the International Society for Music Education (ISME), and former member of the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council's (AHRC) Review College for Music. Current Visiting Professorships include the Universities of Queensland and Monash (Australia) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. Publications number approximately four hundred and embrace musical development, music education, teacher education, the psychology of music, singing and voice science, as well as music in special education and disability. He was Chair of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation National Working Group on music education in England from 2015 to 2017. In the original 2011 article Graham critically reflected on the review of the National Curriculum and the introduction and the introduction of a so-called 'English Baccalaureate'.
May 2021 Postscript
Over the past decade, the general trends outlined in the 2011 text have continued. Politicians tinkered again with the content of the NC in 2005 - the fifth iteration since its inception in 1989. In addition, schools are now measured on how many Secondary school pupils take the EBacc, and on the grades that they achieve (DFE, 2019). The EBacc accounted for 38.4% of the examination entry at the end of Key Stage 4 in 2018 (DFE, 2020), a proportion that rose to 40% in 2019 (DFE, 2021). The ambition is 90% by 2025 (DFE, 2019). Consequently, far from the Government recognising the value of the arts, these are still absent in the EBacc configuration, with examination entries for many arts subjects declining markedly at GCSE and A level in recent years (Johnes, 2017; Thomson, 2019).
Meanwhile, paradoxically, international multi-disciplinary recognition continues to grow concerning the value of the arts in contributing to other areas of human intellectual, social and emotional development (cf Guhn et al, 2019; Welch et al, 2020; Williams et al, 2015). Furthermore, engaging in the arts can make a positive difference to individual and collective health across the lifespan, from early childhood through to senescence (Fancourt & Finn, 2019; MacDonald et al, 2013). As an example, in our contemporary world where mental health and emotional well-being are of a national and global concern (e.g., BERA, 2021; The Prince's Trust, 2021), successful engagement in the arts is seen offering particular benefits to mental health (Camlin et al, 2020; McCrary et al, 2021), especially (but not only) during the current pandemic (Granot et al, 2021). Lastly, from an economic perspective, 'the arts and culture industry' (including both market and non-market elements) supported £48bn in turnover, £23bn in GVA [Gross Value Added], 363,713 jobs and £13.4bn in employee compensation in 2016' (Cebr, 2019; 8).
'Although we may view adult artists as being particularly creative and recreative, the evidence from our observations of young children suggests that we are all born with creativity as a core feature of our design, of how we deal with and make sense of the world. It is a weakness of many of our education systems that this basic creative propensity is not nurtured and sustained through childhood into adolescence and beyond for everyone, but becomes filtered and badged as a minority characteristic, viewing artistic behaviour as special, or as a human pyramid of excellence in which the many look up to the few.' (Welch, 2021: 247).
The Making of a Neoliberal Academic
Abstract: Vol. 2. No. 1 APR 2012
Stephen J. Ball is Karl Mannheim Professor of the Sociology of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Editor of the Journal of Education Policy. His work is in 'policy sociology' and he has conducted a series of Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded studies which focus on issues of social class and policy. Recent books include: Global Education Inc. (Routledge, 2012), How schools do policy (with Meg Maguire and Annette Braun) (Routledge, 2012), The education debate (Policy Press, 2008), Education Plc (Routledge, 2007) and Childcare choice and class practices (with Carol Vincent) (Routledge, 2005). He has an honorary doctorate from Turku University, is visiting professor at the University of San Andrés and is a Fellow of the British Academy. Drawing on his earlier work on performativity, Stephen in this article critically reflects on what it means today to be an academic in higher education.
May 2021 Postscript
Just when you thought things could not get any worse...
Reading again the short article I wrote in 2012 for RiSTE (as it was originally called), having been asked for an update, the thing that strikes me most forcibly is that no update is necessary. All aspects of the re-making of the academic subject I described are still in play, just more so.
The move to online and remote teaching and learning offers a whole plethora of new possibilities for monitoring and measurement – more of what we do can be captured as data (Grimaldi & Ball, 2020). Every keystroke, every mark, comment, interaction can be recorded, timed and stored away. Almost every facet of the 'new HE' is now subject to what David Beer (Beer, 2019) calls the Data Gaze. Our social relations are interpolated as 'data relations', we see ourselves and others through the medium of data - data are what we are, and are our worth. We can be summed up - literally - and constantly held to account - literally. We are ordered by and within data and its insensitivities, subject to data-led thinking and governance.
So what is it that we have become? Some of us have become redundant, surplus to requirements, replaceable. Some of us have become expert, acquiring the new skills of data engineering and data analysis. Some of us have become anachronisms, out of date, irrelevant. What space is there to be otherwise? Escape from the gaze is not easy, particularly because it is not just out there looking in but it has entered our souls, we see ourselves and work on our selves in its terms. To be otherwise we must think ourselves, our relation to ourselves and to others, in other ways. That requires work of a different kind, it requires experimentation - constant effort to expand the scope of new modes of subjectivity - it involves the inevitability of failure - a process of creative self-fashioning, the opening up of vulnerability, unruly curiosity, and frank speaking (Ball, 2019). That is, 'The critique of what we are and experiments with the possibility of going beyond' (Foucault in Rabinow 1987 p. 108).
Teacher Education in Scotland: The Donaldson Review and the Early Phases of Teacher Learning
Abstract - Vol. 2. No. 2 Oct 2012
Jim O'Brien is Emeritus Professor of Leadership and Professional Learning at the Moray House School of Education, The University of Edinburgh and Co-Managing Editor of the Professional Development in Education journal. His work is in 'leadership and professional learning' and he has been a member of a number of national development groups associated with teacher professional development and leadership themes such as Teacher Appraisal and Professional Review and Development; the Standard for Headship and Scottish Qualification for Headship (SQH) programme; the Chartered Teacher Standard and Development Programme; and the national CPD Advisory Group on School Leadership, participating in the OECD Thematic Review Improving School Leadership: Scotland. His recent books include Coaching and mentoring: developing teachers and leaders (with Christine Forde), The social agenda of the school (with Gale MacLeod) (Dunedin, 2009) and School leadership (2nd edition) (with Danny Murphy and Janet Draper) (Dunedin, 2008). Jim has written numerous articles and book chapters on associated themes. In this article he critically reflects on current developments in teacher education in Scotland.
May 2021 Postscript
The Donaldson Review affirmed the central role that universities should play in developing the 21st century teacher professional; MacDonald and Rae (2018) suggest that "Donaldson recognised the complexity of teaching, and the necessity of investing in a system that values and supports intellectual challenge" (p.838), and that this heavily influenced the developing nature of programmes of initial teacher education (p. 840). The ITE providers responded in diverse ways: the PGDE continued; sometimes 'tweaked' to allow some online or blended activity. New alternative models emerged in addition to the experimentation in the system evident prior to Donaldson's Review. The BEd primary programmes were a major casualty across the system replaced by 4-year undergraduate MA or BA provision with concurrent degrees and access to other disciplines made possible. Flexibility of pathway was initiated by some TEIs allowing students to defer career decisions. Workforce planning remains a key element in government thinking and teacher education numbers remain strictly controlled. In 2016, in response to a Government demand for 'new and innovative routes' to alleviate concerns about possible teacher shortages (Kennedy, 2018), there emerged STEM- specific provision; Masters-level routes; dual primary/secondary qualifications; distance learning programmes and fast-track routes combining ITE and the induction year. Menter (2017) confirms the Scottish Government enabled the establishment of university and local authority partnerships involving both strategic and operational collaboration especially on professional placement. This major partnership has been relatively successful and continues to jointly determine policy and implementation by issuing appropriate guidance e.g. on Professional Placement policy in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic (2021). At local levels partnership has become much more collaborative, integrated and authentic in ITE preparation programmes providing well-structured clinical experiences. 'Fuzziness', however, remains alive and well with continuing tensions among the 'players' and within government policy itself. The Scottish Government wants to raise attainment in schools and seeks a form of transformative 'teacher professionalism' supported by Donaldson but also a form that 'delivers' and measures improvements identified by government. In this vein, Kennedy (2018) highlights government support for Masters-level developments and fast track PGDEs while simultaneously planning to allow school-based routes. This 'Teach First'-like initiative was roundly condemned by universities and teacher unions alike but provision was developed and approved. The Scottish Government claims that the alternative routes initiative has been successful in attracting additional individuals into teaching from diverse academic and professional backgrounds especially those seeking a change of career. STEM subject teachers have increased in rural areas while more generally the professional competence of existing teaching staff has grown through mentoring provision. Nevertheless, as Kennedy (2018, p.833) comments "It is fair to say that while there is considerable emphasis on the transformative orientation, increasing importance being given to Masters-level learning and explicit policy statements about the need for teachers to be enquiring, there is also a more managerial, technicist discourse at play, driven in part by teacher supply concerns, and in part by a political desire to impose more easily measurable, externally imposed accountability measures." The review of developments policy and practice generated post Donaldson is ongoing and for the interested reader, Beck and Adam (2020) is worthy of consideration as is the entire edited book by Shanks, (2020).
From Interesting Times to Critical Times? Teacher Education and Educational Research in England
Abstract - Vol. 3. No. 1 APR 2013
Before moving to Oxford, Ian Menter was Professor of Teacher Education at the University of Glasgow. Prior to that he held posts at the University of the West of Scotland (Dean of Education and Media), London Metropolitan University (Head of School of Education), University of the West of England and the University of Gloucestershire. Ian was President of the Scottish Educational Research Association from 2005 to 2007 and chaired the Research and Development Committee of the Universities' Council for the Education of Teachers from 2008 to 2011.
Ian is an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Nottingham and at Newman University College, Birmingham. He is a convenor of two UK-wide research groups, TEG (Teacher Education Group) and CAPeR-UK (Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy Reform across the UK). In this article Ian critically reflects on the future of educational research in light of current policy developments related to teacher education in England.
May 2021 Postscript
Looking back on what I wrote in 2013, two or three things strike me - rather hard!
First, the move to 'evidence-based' teaching and education has not been smooth and uneventful. Prompted by Goldacre's discussion paper, the Randomised Control Trial (RCT) has burgeoned as a method of educational research, especially while Kevan Collins was still at the Education Endowment Foundation (Sir Kevan is now the Government's 'Education Recovery Tsar' - likely to be a very onerous role). A team of us at Oxford played a part in a major national project led by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, called 'Closing the Gap' – an RCT based initiative designed to evaluate eight particular classroom schemes in hundreds of primary and secondary schools. While many teachers developed their research skills through this work, little evidence of the attainment gap being narrowed - let alone closed - emerged from this work (Childs & Menter, 2018). Yet the commitment to educational 'packages' and 'toolkits' - panaceas or snake oil in other terms - seems to continue, at least in England (Menter, in press).
The completion of the BERA-RSA investigation into 'Research and the Teaching Profession' was a great achievement. The final report is frequently cited in professional and research literature around the world and the key notion of teachers needing to develop 'research literacy' has taken a strong hold (BERA-RSA, 2014).
But, of course, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has had the most dramatic effect on teacher education - as well as on schools - since early in 2020. These are indeed dangerous times for students, teachers, pupils and teacher educators – and all of their friends and families. In my view, it is truly remarkable that the processes of initial teacher education have continued to function, albeit in very new ways. The system has relied heavily both on virtual learning environments and on the ingenuity and creativity of those professionals with the responsibility of ensuring that we do have new teachers entering the profession (Breslin, 2021). The pressures on teacher education staff have been enormous and I can only express my deep respect and admiration for those who have been sustaining the work. BERA has encouraged and supported a range of research projects looking at aspects of the impact of the pandemic and journal editors have encouraged the writing-up of relevant experiences (Flores & Swennen, 2020; O'Meara & Hordatt Gentles, 2020).
University of Oxford, Vice-President of the British Educational Research Association (BERA)
Beyond the Betrayal of Democracy in Schools
Abstract - Vol. 3. No. 2 Oct 2013
Currently Emeritus Professor of Education at the Institute of Education, University of London and Visiting Professor of Education at the University of Bristol, Michael Fielding taught for 19 years in some of the UK's pioneer radical secondary comprehensive schools and for a similar period and with identical commitments at the universities of Cambridge, London and Sussex. Widely published in the fields of student voice, educational leadership and radical democratic education, some of his innovative research work (he coined the term Joint Practice Development) is currently influencing professional learning in schools. His latest book, co-authored with Peter Moss, Radical education and the common school - a democratic alternative (Routledge 2011), seeks to reclaim education as a democratic project and a community responsibility and school as a public space of encounter for all citizens. It was nominated Best Book of 2011 by the Society for Educational Studies. Within the context of a powerful critique on the effects of transnational capitalism on education, Michael discusses the pioneering work of Alex Bloom and its implications for radical democratic education.
Emeritus Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London
I was never much good at writing: Trainee Teachers' Attributions in Writing
Abstract - Vol. 4. No. 1 Apr2014
David Wray taught in primary schools in the United Kingdom for 10 years and is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of Warwick. He has served as President of the United Kingdom Reading Association, and edited the journal of that Association for 8 years. He has published over 50 books and over 150 chapters and articles on aspects of literacy teaching and is best known for his work on developing teaching strategies to help students access the curriculum through literacy. His major publications include: Extending Literacy (Routledge); Developing Children's Non-Fiction Writing (Scholastic); Literacy in the Secondary School (Fulton) and Teaching Literacy Effectively (Routledge Falmer). More recently he has begun new research programs exploring the importance and teaching of handwriting, renewing the concept of readability and evaluating the educational use of mobile learning devices. In this article David explores some of the background to this problem and reports an investigation into the self-perceived competence in writing of teachers in training.
May 2021 Postscript
I concluded my piece by questioning the idea that "writing cannot be taught but, rather, only learned", an idea which seems to me to underestimate the crucial role of teachers in the development of successful writers. I also suggested that we needed to reconsider what it means to 'teach' writing. I still maintain that teachers 'teach' through their attitudes towards writing, the value they place on writing, and the time they devote to it in their classrooms, as well, of course, through their demonstrations of writing to their pupils.
It is, however, fairly well documented that, in general, teachers around the world are not particularly good at this teaching. The observation from the Education Standards Research Team (2012: 3) that "Writing is the subject with the worst performance compared with reading, maths and science at Key Stages 1 and 2" could be echoed by research findings in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, etc. In teachers' defence, though, it is the case that the teaching of writing has been much less extensively investigated that, for example, the teaching of reading (Gadd & Parr, 2017). It has not always been clear what teachers should do to improve the effectiveness of their teaching of writing.
More positively, the 7 years that have elapsed since my piece was published have seen the publication of a number of reviews of effective practices in the teaching of writing. I do not have the space here to review these in detail, although I will give some references at the end of this postscript. It is worth, however, a brief summary of one of the most recent of these, that produced by the dynamic team of Young and Ferguson (2021). Their table of types of instruction orders teaching strategies according to effect size (using the Hattie (2012) approach) and one of its distinguishing features is how strongly it correlates with the outcomes of the other reviews. The Young and Ferguson 'top 4' teaching strategies are:
- Set writing goals, ensuring that learners participate and have some agency in this.
- Use a writing workshop approach, with a regular routine of demonstrations, mini-lessons, time for writing and class sharing.
- Writing processes, ensuring that learners know that writing includes generating ideas, planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing and performing.
- Pursue purposeful and authentic writing projects which engage young writers.
I will conclude by reiterating that it is not good enough for a trainee teacher to say 'I was never much good at writing.' They need to be helped to develop more positive attitudes towards writing, so that they can go on to be positive 'influential others' for the pupils they will later teach. The evidence is beginning to amass that there are some crucial elements to the ways our trainees might be taught to approach writing in their classrooms.
The Appropriation of the Professionalisation Agenda in Teacher Education
Abstract - Vol. 4. No. 2 Oct 2014
Diane Mayer is Professor of Education (Teacher Education) at the University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Harris Manchester College. Prior to joining Oxford, she was Professor of Education and Dean at The University of Sydney. She has also held positions at the University of California at Berkeley in the USA and at Victoria University, Deakin University and The University of Queensland in Australia. Diane's research and scholarship focuses on teacher education and early career teaching, examining issues associated with the policy and practice of teachers' work and teacher education. She has secured a range of research grants, tenders and consultancies to support this work and has published in a wide range of refereed journals and publications. She has been involved in 40 conference presentations and has delivered 30 invited keynote lectures and seminars in 9 countries. Diane has recently concluded 20 years as lead editor for the international peer reviewed journal, Teaching Education, and she on the Editorial Boards of Curriculum Perspectives, Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, and the European Journal of Teacher Education. She is currently editor for Teachers' Lives, Work and Professional Education one of the 14 volumes for the fourth edition of the International Encyclopaedia of Education (Elsevier).
May 2021 Postscript
In 2014, I wrote that initial teacher education in many countries (usually in the global north) was seen as a problem in need of fixing. It was positioned as a policy problem and a view was cultivated that teacher quality could be improved by manipulating various policy levers related to teacher recruitment, preparation and retention. Seven years later, nothing much has changed. Policy change continues at a pace, and continues to focus on aspects of teacher recruitment, preparation and retention. Likewise, the professionalisation agenda has continued to be appropriated and constructed according to a focus on practice and what works approaches to educational research, with little room for the ways in which the 2014 British Educational Research Association–Royal Society of Arts (BERA-RSA) report suggested that research could make a contribution to teaching and teacher education.
In Australia, for example, the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group (TEMAG) review tasked with making 'recommendations on how ITE in Australia could be improved to better prepare new teachers with the practical skills needed for the classroom' (Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group, 2014, p.ix) had just been announced when I wrote the 2014 article. Late in 2014, their final report titled Action Now: Classroom ready teachers constructed a deficit view of teacher education in Australia and highlighted the importance of 'classroom ready' graduates. It provided 38 recommendations and the Australian government's response promised swift and decisive action to ensure:
- Stronger quality assurance of teacher education courses
- Rigorous selection for entry to teacher education courses
- Improved and structured practical experience for teacher education students
- Robust assessment of graduates to ensure classroom readiness
- National research and workforce planning capabilities
(Australian Government, 2015)
Since 2015, the Accreditation of initial teacher education programs in Australia: Standards and Procedures (Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership, 2019) document which regulates teacher education programmes has been updated to reflect the new policy directions resulting from the TEMAG report. As a result, teacher professionalism in Australia has been constructed as being the 'right type' of person with appropriate personal characteristics and levels of personal literacy and numeracy, who can demonstrate appropriate teaching practice against standards within a system that determines performance indicators and mechanisms for classroom readiness. Moreover, teacher educator professionalism can be interpreted as ensuring the production of graduates who are classroom ready at point of graduation via programmes that are accredited using nationally consistent standards. The regulations also construct teacher education work by defining outcomes by which programmes will be held accountable, some of which bear little direct relationship to the work of professionally educating new teachers (for a fuller analysis, see Mayer & Mills, 2020).
Similarly, in England, initial teacher education continues to be buffeted by policy changes with increasing numbers of pathways into teaching (Whiting et al., 2018), many which reduce or eliminate the role of universities in teacher education. There has also been a perceived need to increase the regulation of teacher education. This has included developing an initial teacher education framework in 2016, which was updated in 2019 (Department for Education (DfE), 2019b), and an Early Career Framework (ECF) (Department for Education (DfE), 2019a). Both reflect a practice turn (Zeichner, 2012) and 'what works' framings of educational research (Biesta, 2007).
The policies are being formulated in what Helgetun and Menter (2020) call an 'evidence era' where 'evidence' is constructed as a 'truth'. Certainly, claims of evidence to justify various reforms are engaged. But claims for evidence-based teaching is often associated with a 'what works' agenda that takes no account of context and does not nuance findings. Thus, teachers are expected to engage with and be uncritical consumers of existing evidence to improve their practice. In 2021, there is still much work to be done for teacher educators to reclaim the professionalisation agenda.
Professor of Education, University of Oxford and Professorial Fellow of Harris Manchester College
Hijacked by the Project? Research Which Demands to be Done
Abstract - Vol. 5. No 1 May 2015
Pat Sikes is Professor of Qualitative Inquiry at the University of Sheffield. Pat has been involved in research from 1978 with her interests being focused on five inter-related concerns: educators' lives and careers; auto/biographical research; qualitative methodologies; research ethics; and social justice issues. In September 2018 she was awarded the John Nisbet Fellowship by the British Educational Research Association for an outstanding contribution to educational research over a career. Since originally writing this piece the majority of Pat's publications have been associated with the Perceptions and Experiences of Children and Young People Who Have a Parent With Dementia study. Other relatively recent publications include Sikes, P. & Novacovik, Y. (Eds) (2020) Storying the public intellectual: commentaries on the impact and influence of the work of Ivor Goodson London, Routledge; Goodson, I., Sikes, P. Andrews, M. & Antikainen, A. (Eds) (2017) The Routledge International Handbook of Narrative and Life History London, Routledge; Sikes, P. and Piper, H. (2010) Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom: Allegations of Sexual Misconduct in Schools London, Routledge/Falmer.
May 2021 Postscript
My commitment to making private troubles public concerns through narrative auto/biographical research is one thing that hasn't changed during the six years since I wrote this piece. Much else has, both professionally and personally.
In so many ways, the Perceptions and Experiences of Children and Young People Who Have a Parent With Dementia study that started in November 2014 turned out to be something of a life changer, as well as a great success. Over 18 months, Mel Hall met with 23 6-31 year olds, in most cases at least twice. The stories they told gave rich, privileged insights into what having a parent with a young onset dementia meant for them, its impact on their personal lives, and on their educational and professional careers. The longitudinal aspect of the study also showed how they experienced the progressive and terminal nature of parental dementia. To date, we have published nine journal articles and a couple of chapters and there is likely more to come. That the work has been unique within what is a neglected field is clear from the number of people from across the world who, having come across reports and papers, have contacted us to tell their stories, usually saying they thought they were the only person who was going through what they were. I still get at least one of those emails every week. Then, there are the systematic reviews, which are starting to appear in dementia and health journals, which demonstrate that 'our' study is the most extensive and detailed there has been to date. There is great satisfaction in getting these young people's voices heard - and not just in academia but, and more importantly, through organisations involving those living with dementia, professionals and practitioners, who can do something to help meet their needs. Moving on, there is to be an international study in collaboration with colleagues in New York looking at how young people at risk of inherited dementias make decisions about genetic testing. All this has meant that my identity has expanded from being Pat Sikes whose key substantive interests lay in education and teachers' lives and careers to Pat Sikes who is concerned with young onset dementia.
In personal terms and over the years, my husband, David, whose young onset dementia was the catalyst for that identity development, went into care. As his condition developed, he and our family had to come to terms with myriad changes, few, if any, good, echoing the experience of the participants in the study and posing a serious challenge to the dominant narrative of living well with dementia. Positively, however, our children began to establish careers. They missed their dad at their graduations, weddings, and when their children were born, and he missed sharing in these significant, as well as in quotidian, events. I became grandma – a wonderful new identity that brings enormous pleasure. David died as a result of dementia in May 2020 (see https:// www.solidarityandcare.org /stories/ essays/death-in-the-absence-of-hugs) and being a widow is something else again. I retired on my 65th birthday in September 2020 and was honoured with emeritus status. It's been a busy 10 years.
The Role of Research in Teacher Education
Abstract - Vol. 5 No. 2 Nov 2015
Kari Smith is Professor (PhD) Programme for Teacher Education (PLU), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and University of Bergen. Kari's main research interests are teacher education, professional development, mentoring novice teachers and assessment for and of learning. She has acted as the head of teacher education programmes internationally as well as at the University of Bergen in Norway. Currently she is the Head of the Norwegian National Research School in Teacher Education (NAFOL). Kari is active in the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction (EARLI), previously as the Coordinator for the Assessment and Evaluation SIG (Special Interest Group) 1 and till August 2015 as the Coordinator for Teaching and Teacher Education SIG 11. She has published widely and has given invited talks in Australia, New Zealand, China, Dubai, Korea, Singapore, Africa, USA, South America, Europe, Israel and in her own country, Norway. Kari is a founding member of the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development (InFoTED). In this article she elaborates on the understanding of the concept 'research-based' teacher education, arguing that developing teacher educators' research competence is a neglected challenge, as also is the need for protected time for teacher educators to engage in research.
May 2021 Postscript
When being asked to comment on the paper written in 2015, I realised that most of the arguments made then, are relevant today, six years later. Research still plays an important role in teacher education, including the importance of teacher educators' being active researchers. In fact, I would claim that the role of research has increased in recent years.
In Norway, all teacher education is, since 2017, at a master level which requires a research-based master thesis according to the Norwegian regulations. In other words, all student teachers must engage in research, and all these students are to be supervised by research competent teacher educators. This has created a problem well known before 2017, and as reported in the 2015 paper, some national initiatives were taken, one of which was the National Research School for Teacher Educators (NAFOL). The success of NAFOL has been widely documented (Vattøy & Smith, 2018; Smith, 2020), however, NAFOL alone has not been able to cover the need for strengthening research competence of the large number of teacher educators without a doctorate in Norway. A recent study examining the career development needs among teacher educators without a doctorate in a large Norwegian university revealed widespread experiences of not being valued and not supported in their career development, of which research and publication is an integrated part (Smith, Hakel & Skjelbred, 2020). Teacher education institutions should take measures to support teacher educators in developing competent research skills to strengthen teacher education at all levels.
Another claim I still voice is that the type of research student teachers and teacher educators engage in should be practice oriented research to develop knowledge to improve learning and teaching in schools and teacher education. Engaging in research takes time and it should be perceived as meaningful and relevant to the researchers either they are teachers to be or experienced teacher educators. Relevance to practice is, perhaps, a keyword here. An example of what I mean is a published paper by a teacher who has introduced a research and development (R&D) project in her own school aimed at strengthening collaborative learning with her colleagues so they could better practice it with their own students (Liebech- Lien, 2020). The research and writing process was supported by supervision. Other schools in the municipality have now become interested in learning more about collaborative learning. The teacher believes collaborative learning is important, and the heavy investment in the project was meaningful to her and relevant beyond her own setting.
There is, however, a new argument I would like to put forward in this 'update' of the 2015 paper. I am afraid that the balance between research and quality teaching in teacher education is moving in the wrong direction, that the importance of maintaining and improving the quality of teaching is decreasing as research and publication take more place (Smith & Flores, 2019). Maria Flores and I conclude our paper on the Janus Faced Teacher Educator claiming:
"There is a need to find a good balance (Vanassche and Kelchtermans 2016) at the individual, institutional and national level, in which research and teaching in teacher education are intertwined. We strongly believe that the two main responsibilities of teacher educators which form the Janus face can melt into each other in the face of a researching teacher educator" (Smith & Flores, 2019:442).
The importance of quality teaching in teacher education has become even more urgent today as a result of increased online teaching during the Covid-19 lockdowns. Many teacher educators experienced being thrown into a reality in which they did not feel competent, and the focus shifted from investing in quality teaching to surviving in the new reality (Smith, et al., 2021). Teacher education post Covid-19 will be different from before the pandemic invaded the world, and we have been pushed to seek unexplored alternatives which will hopefully strengthen teacher education and make it more future related. However, to do this, research and practice must be intertwined and not develop in two different directions.
Looking at 'Both Sides' of Teacher Education Research and Policy-Making: Insights for the Teacher Education Research Community
Abstract - Vol. 6. No. 1 May 2016
Simone White is Professor and Chair of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia, and currently the President of the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA). Simone's research, teaching and engagement are focused on the key question of how to best prepare teachers and leaders for diverse communities. Her current research areas focus on teacher education research and policy; teacher educators and professional experience; and building and sustaining university-school/community partnerships. Through her collective work, she aims to connect research, policy and practice in new ways that break down traditional borders between academics, policy makers, communities and practitioners. Simone currently leads the state-funded initiative Teaching Academies for Professional Practice (TAPP) aimed at improving the professional learning of pre-service and in-service teachers across a broad geographic cluster in Melbourne. Some of the work Simone has been involved in (with colleagues) can be accessed on the following publicly accessible websites: www.rrrtec.net.au; www.teacherevidence. net.au; and www.teacherassessment.edu. au.
May 2021 Postscript
Revisiting the article, looking at 'both sides' of teacher education research and policy-making: Insights for the teacher education research community, little has changed for the teacher education research community. While the world we live in has significantly changed due to the pandemic, for those in teacher education, the backdrop continues to be one of tightening regulation, increased scrutiny, testing and standardisation on the one hand and on the other, widening socio-economic divides, greater diversification of students and their family's needs and, continued technological disruption and the marketisation of education (Whitty & Furlong, 2017).
Like many other OECD Countries (in particular the US and England), Australia has continued to experience an increasingly concerning teacher shortage, putting even more pressure on the profession to allow those not yet fully qualified to commence in classrooms while they complete their studies. This in turn is leading to more required of schools to have various support mechanisms in place, in the form of mentoring and coaching for under-qualified or newly qualified teachers. This issue is particularly felt in regional, rural and remote schools already experiencing challenges brought about by socio-economic forces (White, 2019). Teacher education researchers continue to lament their research is not listened to or taken up in meaningful ways; while policy makers have become even louder in their call for research that addresses 'public problems' and dismissive of 'academics' who are perceived as out of touch.
In the article, I argued for a transformative approach, encompassing an 'and/ also' strategy to address this issue. By this I explained that teacher education researchers should diversify the ways in which they disseminated their findings, moving beyond traditional journals that policy makers seldom can access and read. I called for new models of incentivising publishing using multiple genres, by those in higher education leadership positions and I explained that a greater focus on supporting early career academics to be mentored in different mediums was needed. The pandemic might be an unlikely ally to realise these recommendations. Most recently, the pandemic has led to a greater scrutiny of the machinations of universities in the Australian context. The Australian Prime Minister recently called for universities to play a more active role in translational research; research he called that would make a direct difference to our social-emotional and economic well-being as a country.
There has been a swift political critique of the higher education metric system that witness universities overly focused on rising the international league tables via publishing in highly ranked journals set behind paywalls. While teacher education researchers might not have been at the forefront of their thinking, this political shift in rhetoric to what has been deemed 'the entrepreneurial academic' might herald a way for teacher education researchers to move into their own lane and build new approaches to share and disseminate their research and in turn support a research-rich teaching profession (White et al 2020, White, 2021).
We Thought We Knew the Landscape of Literacy Teacher Education: Ten Surprises From Our Research
Abstract - Vol. 6. No. 2 Nov 2016
In this month's edition of RiTE we are fortunate to have not one but three! Clare Kosnik is Director of the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto (OISE/UT). Her area of research is teacher education which she has systematically studied. She is now conducting a large-scale study of 28 literacy/English teacher educators in four countries.
Lydia Menna is an Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Alberta. Her research interests are in the areas of teacher education, multiliteracies, critical literacy, and teacher identity construction. She completed her doctorate in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.
Pooja Dharamshi is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests are in the areas of critical literacy and teacher education. She recently completed her doctoral studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto in the department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning. Her study explored the practices and pedagogies of literacy teacher educators with a critical stance.
May 2021 Postscript
After completing the study, Literacy Teacher Educators: Their Backgrounds, Visions, and Practices, reported in this paper, we still had many questions. This led us to apply for another large-scale grant to study an additional 30 literacy/English teacher educators in four countries, Canada, England, Australia, and the United States. This new study Pedagogy of Literacy Teacher Education: Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Literacies directly builds on the first study because some of the same questions were posed with new ones added. In developing the goals and interview questions for the new study the "10 surprises" identified in the article published in Research in Teacher Education guided our work. For example, we collected all participants' syllabi and analysed them to compile various pedagogies being used (including readings and assignments). In the interviews we had more targeted questions on pedagogy which is deepening our knowledge of a pedagogy of teacher education.
Since the data gathering for the first study Black Lives Matter became a global initiative. In our interview questions in the second study, we had a whole section on social justice - how it was being addressed in teacher education, student teacher response, barriers faced by teacher educators, and pedagogical strategies. We are learning a great deal about how social justice issues are being woven (or not) into literacy/English teachers' pedagogy. Having the chance to build on the first study has been a very enriching experience because we came to the data analysis with a much more informed perspective which allowed us to look for nuances in the data. Having 58 literacy/ English teacher educators across the two studies has given us a robust sample and having data from different periods of time allows us to see which trends have continued and identify new trends that are emerging.
We have one publication for the study published and have two more in development.
Happier Teachers & More Engaged Students? Reflections on the Possibilities Offered by a Pedagogical Approach Co-Developed by Teachers & Researchers
Abstract - Vol. 7. No. 1 May 2017
In this month's edition of RiTE our guest writer is Professor Louise Archer, recently appointed to the Karl Mannheim Chair of Sociology of Education, based in the Department of Education, Practice and Society at UCL's Institute of Education. Professor Archer’s primary research interests have been in identities and inequalities of 'race', gender and social class within compulsory and post-compulsory education. Her work encompasses research on Muslim pupils, the minority ethnic middle classes, British Chinese pupils, urban young people and schooling, widening participation in higher education and inequalities in science participation. She also has an interest in feminist theory and methodology. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator for the ASPIRES project, a ten year ESRC-funded study of children's science aspirations and career choices and is the Director of the five year Enterprising Science project. Previously, she was lead coordinator of the ESRC's four-year research programme, the Targeted Initiative on Science and Mathematics Education. She is a member of the editorial boards of Journal of Education Policy, Qualitative Research in Psychology, and Journal of Research in Science Teaching and is the Vice President (Education).
May 2021 Postscript
I rarely, if ever, re-read my own publications (for the same reason that I tend to avoid looking at photographs of what I was wearing in the 1980s - clothes that may have passed muster at the time can look embarrassing and anachronistic now!). So it was with some trepidation that I agreed to Gerry and David's request to revisit my original 2017 article. However, re-reading it led me to reflect on how our research has evolved. We completed the second trial (referred to in the article) with the teachers in Newcastle, York and Leeds and co-produced the freely accessible Science Capital Teaching Approach Handbook, which has since been translated into a number of other languages and has been accessed by teachers in over 80 countries around the world, along with a range of other associated resources. We are currently funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust and The Ogden Trust to work with teacher colleagues to co-develop a new version for primary - which is due to be published in Autumn 2021.
The new primary work has allowed us to develop and refine the approach - for example, clarifying the social justice foundations of the model and articulating more clearly how the approach seeks to shift dominant power relations and support children's agency. This work has been ongoing against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown and is a testament to the dedication and determination of our teacher partners. In particular, the article has reminded me what a pleasure and a privilege it is to have been able to work with so many inspiring and amazing teachers over the years. We have learned so much from them - and I hope these partnerships continue for many years to come.
The Place of Music Education in a Crowded School Curriculum
Abstract - Vol. 7. No. 2 Nov 2017
Professor Martin Fautley is director of research in the School of Education and Social Work at Birmingham City University in the UK. He was a classroom music teacher for many years. His main area of research is assessment in music education, but he also investigates understandings of musical learning and progression. He is the author of eight books, including "Assessment in Music Education", published by Oxford University Press, and has written and published over fifty journal articles, book chapters, and academic research papers. He is co-editor of the British Journal of Music Education.
May 2021 Postscript
Revisiting the article after a gap of some four years is most revealing! Writing in a personal capacity from my perspective as a music education research academic, there are two things I would like to focus on in this brief revisiting. The first of these is the considerable furore which surrounded the publication of a major research study I undertook with colleagues at Birmingham City University, this being the Youth Music funded Exchanging Notes project (Kinsella et al., 2019; Youth Music, 2019). It was from this report that marketing produced the hashtag Stormzy vs Mozart, which was picked up widely by the press and educational commentators. Interestingly, neither of these musicians are mentioned in the report; but Stormzy vs Mozart caught on, and produced comments ranging from "so what?" to "this is the end of civilisation as we know it"! The point of me mentioning this here is that back in 2017, I wrote about '...a discussion of what would be relevant and appropriate in contemporary curricula'. Clearly suggesting that for children and young people who were in danger of becoming NEET - the whole purpose of the Exchanging Notes programme - undertaking activities involving music they liked to prevent them disengaging from school was a step too far for some commentators.
The second brief reflection I would like to offer here is the fact since my article was written, Ofsted have announced that they will be inspecting schools for cultural capital:
leaders take on or construct a curriculum that is ambitious and designed to give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) or high needs, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life (Ofsted, 2019 p.9)
Sadly, what seems to have happened is that Ofsted have somehow elided Bourdieu's description of Cultural Capital (inter alia Bourdieu, 1973) as a sociological explanation, with Hirsch's notion of Cultural Literacy (Hirsch, 1987), which is about knowledge acquisition. Many words have been written about this, but amongst the most withering are those by Beadle:
What if the little that Ofsted knew about cultural capital was entirely wrong, confused with another concept, based on an utterly inadequate reading of the area...(Beadle, 2020 p.11)
And yet, Ofsted's dictums carrying the force they do, this has created a climate wherein schools are rightly concerned about what such inspection would produce.
So, after my revisiting the article, these issues seem to me to be the most worthy of consideration after the elapsing years. I appreciate that this ignores the serious ramifications of COVID for music education entirely, but the two issues described here are enough to keep me awake at night without any help!
Acts of Resistance in an Age of Compliance: Teacher Educators, Professional Knowledge-Making and Self-Study
Abstract - Vol. 8. No. 1 May 2018
Professor Amanda Berry is Deputy Dean Research and Professor of STEM Education in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, Australia. Amanda's research focuses on teacher knowledge development and how that knowledge is shaped and refined throughout teachers' professional life span. Amanda has a strong international profile in the field of science teacher education and is considered a leading scholar in research on science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). This work in PCK is highly cited and includes journal articles, Handbook chapters and books. She has been involved in many research projects focusing on innovations designed to address the quality of teacher professional learning and enhance science teaching and learning in schools and universities. Amanda is currently editor of the journal, Studying Teacher Education: A journal of self-study of teacher education practices, and Associate Editor of Research in Science Education.
May 2021 Postscript
In my contribution to Research in Teacher Education (May 2018), I drew attention to the ways in which the current accountability-led, standards-based teacher education policy environment de-professionalises teacher educators and reduces their work to little more than service delivery, with few opportunities to exercise autonomy or professional judgment. I called upon teacher educators to resist these external forces and to engage in positive 'acts of resistance' by recognizing, developing and valuing their own voices through knowledge-making processes such as self-study. Since the publication of this commentary, I have continued to pursue the idea of 'positive resistance' as an important means by which teacher educators can talk back to the current managerialist agenda and constructively express their professional commitment and care. Together with colleagues Rachel Forgasz (Monash) and Geert Kelchtermans (Leuven) we have been pursuing the notion of "principled resistance", building on Achinstein and Ogawa's (2006) work. Principled resistance takes up the idea that being a committed professional is not just technical, but requires reading and responding to power in one's own environment. While structural conditions may shape and re-define teacher educators' work, they do not completely eradicate the individual teacher educator's agency, including their capacity to interpret and make sense of situations, make judgements, decide on options for action, and eventually enact them in their professional practice. Resistance and caring action can function as the manifestation of commitment, that allow for a balance between the requirements of the institutional logics in policy, the organisational agendas and concerns of workplaces, as well as the sense of responsibility and moral position of individual professionals.
Past, Present and Future in Teacher Education
Abstract - Vol. 8. No. 2 Nov 2018
In this month's edition our guest writer is Professor Gary McCulloch. Gary is the inaugural Brian Simon Professor of History of Education, and founding director of the International Centre for Historical Research in Education (ICHRE), at UCL Institute of Education London. He is currently president of the British Educational Research Association (2017-2019) and editor of the British Journal of Educational Studies. His recent publications include Educational Reform Legislation in the 20th Century (ed., 2018), and A Social History of Educational Studies and Research (with Steven Cowan, 2018).
May 2021 Postscript
Historical agendas for teacher education were being argued for even before the global COVID-19 pandemic (see also e.g. Beckett and Nuttall 2017), which has underlined the importance of anticipating the future and understanding the present. It remains true that we can do both by carefully studying the past. After months of lockdown, it is indeed a 'liberating experience', as Brian Simon put it, to remind ourselves that 'things have not always been as they are and need not to remain so' (Simon 1966, p. 92). We may be especially receptive in our present circumstances to the view of the American historian Michael Katz, who tried to demonstrate 'how the reconstruction of America's educational past can be used as a framework for thinking about the present'. Katz proposed that that 'historical products' that were created over time were generally contested between different groups during their formation, among a number of discrete alternatives. Indeed, he added, these products of history were 'neither inevitable nor immutable', and 'may no longer even be appropriate' (Katz 1987, p. 1).
Reestablishing the dynamic connections between past, present and future, as becomes possible and indeed necessary in a time of crisis, should also inform our understanding of teacher education. The lessons of the past can be interpreted to inform our approach to a post-COVID system of teacher education with a rebalanced curriculum. An increasingly cloudy future may come to remind us of the centrality of the past in constructing the present, and an awareness of the rear-view mirror in staying the course.
Three Ways to Make Teacher Education in England Even Better
Abstract - Vol. 9. No. 1 May 2019
James Noble-Rogers is Executive Director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET), a membership organisation for universities involved in teacher education and education research. Prior to taking up this position in 2004, he was Head of Governance at the Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) for four years. Before that he was, from 1987 to 2000, a civil servant in the Education Department (in its various guises) and the Teacher Training Agency. He was born in 1961 and has an Honours degree in Humanities from Hatfield Polytechnic, a Master's degree in Philosophy from the University of Nottingham and a Postgraduate Diploma with distinction from City University, London. He is an Honorary Fellow of Wolverhampton University and in 2015 was awarded an honorary master's degree in Education from the University of Hertfordshire.
May 2021 Postscript
The issues identified in the article, which was published two years ago, are still relevant today, possibly more so. Since the article was written the UK government has stepped up its review of what it calls the 'ITE market'. Although such a review was announced in the January 2019 Recruitment and Retention Strategy, since its reinvention in late 2020 it appears to have a much broader remit, potentially impacting on the content of ITE as well as how the market is structured. Care will have to be taken to make sure that this does not lead to the imposition of a detailed ITE curriculum of the kind the original article warned against.
The importance of structured early professional development for new teachers, which builds on and complements their ITE, is as clear now as it has ever been. While those teachers undergoing ITE during the pandemic will have developed unique knowledge and skills that will be of huge benefit to schools, it is likely that some at least will need tailored CPD programmes that address any issues resulting to any COVID related disruption to their ITE. This might require funding over and above that being made available through the ECF, and a more flexible and contextualised approach to delivering the ECF itself. It remains our view that accredited ITE providers are best placed to deliver this.
Executive Director of the Universities Council for the Education of Teachers (UCET)
Evaluating the Constructionist Approach in Entrepreneurship Education
Abstract - Vol. 9. No. 2 Nov 2019
In this edition we are lucky to have three writers who have contributed to this month's article. Helge Löbler is Professor of Management and Marketing and director of the Institute for Service and Relationship Management at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He studies Cybernetics and Economics at the universities of Stuttgart and Bonn and holds a PhD in Economics. He received an award for his outstanding contributions to the 12th International Colloquium in Relationship Marketing. He has lectured at many international universities in Europe and extensively in the United States and China. In 2006 Professor Löbler and a colleague established the SMILE programme (Self Management Initiative in Leipzig) which has supported more than 450 start-ups since its inception.
Markus Maier is coach at SMILE - an entrepreneurship initiative in Leipzig, Germany. He supports innovative start-ups in all industries with an academic background. Before he joined SMILE he was a research assistant and lecturer for marketing and market research at the marketing chair at the University of Leipzig.
Daniel Markgraf is Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Start-up Management at AKAD University in Stuttgart. He heads the Institute for Digital Expertise and Assessment (IDEA) and is responsible for the MBA programme 'Entrepreneurship and Innovation'. He worked for SMILE and still supports it.
May 2021 Postscript
Roughly, 20 years ago I started to think about constructionism and learning to get a better understanding of what learning is all about. The motivation behind my inquiry was (and still is) my conviction that I need to understand learning if I want to support learners. When discussing this with colleagues and others, I often felt far removed from what they were up to, because during that time, for many supporting learners was just classic teaching (showing, presenting, guiding, instructing etc.). Therefore, I stepped into psychology, pedagogic and most important neuro science. In 2006, I published an article (Löbler, 2006) where I claimed ten principles for supporting entrepreneurial learning. The essay originally had nothing to do with entrepreneurship. The ten principles formulated therein are generally suitable for promoting independent and critical thinking and independence of a learner. However to get it published I focused it on entrepreneurship. Of course, we examined our approach using the usual methods and standards. We published the results again in 2019 (Löbler, Maier, & Markgraf, 2019).
he more I learned about learning I figured out, that the ten principles with their background reflect what I now call 'natural learning'. Natural learning is the way of learning that humans would practice if there were no schools or any teaching institutions. It is the way kids learn before they go to school. This kind of learning was developed by evolution through thousands of years. It is probably the best way of learning for humans; Why not using it? By no means I am saying that formal education is obsolete. However, there are so many options to learn from nature and to better understand our abilities to learn as well as to support learning.
When little kids learn, they do not even know that it is learning. It is mainly 'playing' it is exploring the world. When adults do their hobbies, they neither experience this as learning, it is bowling, playing tennis, doing music and all the joyful activities we do to entertain others and ourselves. We cannot do all this without skills and knowledge. Fortunately, many of us have learned all this outside of schools, universities and other 'formal educational institutions'. We mainly have learned this through attention, enthusiasm and practising. Because it is or was in some sense 'our element' as 89 wonderful presented by Robinson (2010). In natural learning, there are usually no teachers, professors or other 'qualified people' to evaluate the doing. If anything, what we do is measured against reality. In this sense 'live' is the teacher. Live here is understood as a social construction of humans, nature and technology. Kids are naturally curious; they want to learn I should better say they want to explore the world. They want to find their "element". Robinson's book is wonderful source for kids' searching and finding their element (often against formal education) and developing themselves and their activities to famous careers. Let us give kids the opportunity to find their element; so that they really become what they are.
Helge Löbler, Markus Maier and Daniel Markgraf
Department of Marketing,Leipzig Universtit, Grimmaische Str. 12, 04109 Leipzig, Germany
Time to Really Re-Envisage Teacher Education
Abstract - Vol. 10. No 1 May 2020
Professor Ann MacPhail is Assistant Dean Research in the Faculty of Education and Health Sciences and a member of the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick, Ireland. Ann's research interests include the professional learning needs of teacher educators, practices in teacher education programmes, self-study, curriculum and instructional models in physical education and assessment. Ann is a Council member of the International Forum for Teacher Educator Development (InFo-TED). In this article she reflects on the impact COVID-19 might have on teacher education and the extent to which the pandemic reinforces and/or challenges her notion of what it means to be an effective initial teacher educator.
May 2021 Postscript
Just as the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic was reaching Europe, for my guest author contribution I decided to consider the potential impact the pandemic might have on teacher educators and teacher education. As a teacher educator who continues to champion that the central premise to enacting effective initial teacher education resides with teacher educators working as communities of learners, I share two aligned instances that have arisen since May 2020 throughout the pandemic.
I noted that there was already support for the suggestion that the crisis had exacerbated inequalities in society (and specifically the 'digital divide') which encourages teacher education to consider the centrality of social justice now and in the future. The prevalence of this has since resulted in a group of five teacher education colleagues and I meeting every second week to share, discuss and reflect on how best we can enact and support social justice within our two initial teacher education programmes. We had discussed the necessity for such a group many times before and it appears the injustices heightened by the pandemic provided the impetus for us to finally create this space.
I noted that collective (self) studies with teacher education colleagues would provide an opportunity to work collectively as communities of learners in researching teacher education programme practices that we consider as we deal with the realities of 'doing' teacher education during a pandemic. I have formed a group with three other colleagues to explore teacher educators' realities of digital pedagogies across different teacher education programmes. We facilitate bi-weekly meetings with ten colleagues who have consistently reported pandemic-related issues related to planning, implementation, disengagement, leadership and infrastructure. The palpable discourse around each is explained by colleagues as reflecting the extent to which these issues have always been present, and that the pandemic has heightened the seriousness of each. The group consistently enforce the invaluable space that has been created for them to share and discuss how these realities do not dissuade them from offering the most effective experience they can for pre-service teachers.
Reflecting on the enthusiasm I shared on the pandemic being an opportunity for us to 'really' re-envisage teacher education in May 2020, that enthusiasm was challenged when it was clear that colleagues in teacher education were dealing with the reality of remote learning, isolation and an increased workload. However, my support for the potential of communities of learners was further heightened throughout the pandemic as a means of facing, and in some instances, combating challenges. This further emphasises the importance of working together as teacher educators for a meaningful, relevant and worthwhile teacher education experience for ourselves as teacher educators and pre-service teachers, "If unity is strength...then a lack of unity (social fragmentation, isolation, anomie) is conducive to powerlessness" (Locke, 2017, p. 192).
Assistant Dean Research, Faculty of Education and Health Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland
Initial Teacher Education and Learning for All Our Futures
Abstract - Vol. 11. No. 1 May 2021
Jean Murray is professor of education, emeritus, in the School of Education and Communities at the University of East London in England. Her research focuses on the sociological analysis of teacher education policies, research and practices internationally. Jean has written well over 200 books, chapters, articles and official reports on these issues and has also run a large number of research projects. She has taught at all levels of higher education and in schools, as well as being an educational consultant for governments, NGOs and universities internationally.
Jean M. F. Murray
School of Education and Communities, University of East London, UK
Research In Teacher Education (RiTE)
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Research in Teacher Education
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