Is it us or them? Teacher education as act of resistance to a neo-liberal age
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AbstractThis empirical study examines the role of teacher educators’ in developing the profession and professionalization of Initial Teacher Educators entering Post-Compulsory Education (PCE also referred to as FE for Further Education). Its writers—all post-compulsory teacher educators—explore the changes in the sector to confront a central ontological question of their work: is initial teacher education (ITE) out of step with the direction of a neoliberal education system? We draw from the narratives of teacher students to explore the tensions between the values located in their initial education experiences and the realities of the sector to reflect on our purpose as a teacher education team. The chapter traces changes in recent PCE history to show how a tilt towards marketization has transformed the sector and challenged the paradigm, values and perspectives of Initial Teacher Education professionals in HE. Arguments that ‘neoliberalism, because of its nihilism, is an unworkable logic for teacher education’ (Tuck in J Critical Educ Policy Stud 11:324–347, 2013) highlight the diminishing esteem of the teacher’s role, from educator to ‘classroom manager’ and ‘instructional designer’. Unrealistic measures and compliance agendas de-professionalizes teachers by inhibiting teacher thinking and acting (Priestley et al. in Teacher agency: An ecological approach. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017). Against this instrumentalist shift, we hold that teaching and education are philosophically, politically and artistically situated actions, requiring socially and politically informed teachers who reject performativity and the continual need to justify education. What PCE calls for is educators who will know when and how to initiate change within the human condition of teaching in FE. Teacher’s reflexive world views can equip them in deciding their terms of being, their virtue and their coming into presence (Arendt in The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1958). We argue that PCE Teacher Educators must create and safeguard an intellectual space where teachers can contest the ‘dangerous distortion of perceived reality and challenge the external powers that deprive of thinking and acting space’ (Allen in Int J Philos Stud 10:131–149, 2002). The study highlights that it is through the irrationality of neoliberalism that teachers locate space to appear as moral thinking and acting subjects. A purpose of Initial Teacher Education is to support teachers to have the courage to tell the truth within risky situations and in dark times (Tamboukou in J Educ Policy 27:849–865, 2012). In PCE, social and human interaction persists among policies and practices that involve a constant, complex and dynamic mix of power, challenge, confusion and choice. Where “policy as practice is ‘created’ in a trialectic of dominance, resistance and chaos/freedom” (Ball in Education Reform: A Critical and Post-structural Approach, Open University Press, vol 11, 1994), we assert that Initial Teacher Education must remain a focal point for the profession and an imperative pause and critical space for viewing the terrain that newly qualified teachers enter. Initial Teacher Education has to support BTs to navigate the shifting landscapes of FE environments to find their place, to safeguard reflexive judgements so that they can come into presence through word and deed (Topper in Political Theory 39:352–377, 2011).
CitationScott, H., Wilde, J., Bennett, P. (2022). Is It Us or Them? Teacher Education as Act of Resistance to a Neo-liberal Age. In: Loo, S. (eds) Teacher Educators in Vocational and Further Education. SpringerBriefs in Education. Springer, Cham, pp. 29–43. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-90502-6_3
TypeChapter in book
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of a chapter published by Springer in Loo, S. (eds) Teacher Educators in Vocational and Further Education on 01/01/2022, available online at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-90502-6_3 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version. For re-use please see the publisher's terms and conditions.
Series/Report no.SpringerBriefs in Education