Reforming the reform of teacher education: a critical grounded theory of a social approach to change and continuity

Thesis


Alexander, Colette. (2016) Reforming the reform of teacher education: a critical grounded theory of a social approach to change and continuity [Thesis].
AuthorsAlexander, Colette
Abstract

The reform of teacher education in Australia has been an issue of significant challenge to higher education providers in recent decades. The granting of autonomy to state-based teachers’ colleges in 1972 heralded in a supposed era of autonomous university level teacher education as an exclusive model of teacher preparation. Subsequently, the context of teacher education has been in an almost constant cycle of political review and reform. Across the period of this study, 2010-2015, the pace of these cycles has increased to the point where the the outworking of one review has not been completed before the next wave of actions are rolled out. One notable example being the release of the second iteration of the National Program Standards for initial teacher education courses in December 2015 (AITSL, 2015). Considering the length of an undergraduate initial teacher education course and the time taken in accrediting a course, the review and reform of the first iteration of the program standards, released for commencement in 2012, has come before any evidence of their usefulness could ever be collected. In the climate of review and regulation that has taken hold, the impact of political intervention on the processes and practices of teacher education is significant. The outworking of political review and reform is experienced by teacher education as change and continuity. While change and continuity are often described as externalised abstract conceptions, the thesis developed from this study has identified change and continuity as subjective, contextualised social processes. From this perspective, it is argued that change and continuity are the key means that individuals, institutions and organisations engage in seeking to improve or develop teacher education and its outcomes towards a preferred future. Given the multiplicity of voices consistently present in the practice of teacher education, the reform of teacher education through the outworking of change and continuity has always been a deeply political activity. As such, the core issue facing teacher educators is finding the space to be both heard and heeded amongst the cacophony of voices that have influence in political review and reform processes. A critical grounded theory methodology was designed for this study into the political practices surrounding the reform of teacher education. In doing so, it specifically employed two core purposes identified from the integration of critical theory with grounded theory. These were to; critically analyse the knowledge and power relations at work in the political practices of reform, and to consider emancipatory possibilities for teacher educators. With this in mind, the methods employed gave purposeful voice to teacher educators through historical texts written by and contemporary interviews conducted with teacher educators. Two substantive theoretical models emerged from the critical analysis of the data. These models highlighted the; nature of the social process of change and continuity evident in the historical context of teacher preparation in Australia, and importance of the local social context of change and continuity across contemporary international teacher education. The conclusions drawn from this study have used a comparative analytical process to theorise a social approach to change and continuity. The thesis presented is that the outworking of reform towards educationally justifiable outcomes is predicated upon the employment of educational voices in socially mediated decision-making processes. For social engagement in the political practices of reform to be successful, teacher educators need to foster carefully nuanced relationships, provide clear and purposeful communication, and maintain a positive psychological disposition. It is argued that the future of teacher education and its potential to impact the professionalisation of teachers is entirely dependent upon the capacity of teacher educators learning to productively occupy the space available for their voice in the political context of reform

Year2016
PublisherUniversity of Adelaide
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/2440/101568
Page range1 - 315
Research GroupInstitute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education (ILSTE)
Publication dates01 Jan 2016
Place of publicationAustralia
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https://acuresearchbank.acu.edu.au/item/89wz3/reforming-the-reform-of-teacher-education-a-critical-grounded-theory-of-a-social-approach-to-change-and-continuity

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