Bloomsbury commissions new book series: Re-inventing Teacher Education

Bloomsbury have commissioned a new series of books on teacher education to be edited by Marie Brennan, Meg Maguire, Peter Smagorinsky and myself. Entitled Re-inventing Teacher Education, the series will publish books that have the potential to change the way we do teacher education, from initial preparation through continuing professional development. We are not looking for the ‘same old, same old’; we are looking for the kinds of books that will startle, infuriate, challenge, provoke and lead to a combination of ‘here, here’ and ‘how dare you’! Books you’ll want to read, throw at the wall or cuddle – perhaps all at once.

The first titles will see the light of day, we hope, in 2015 and we are working with potential authors now to identify topics and timescales. The series description is below. If you are interested in proposing a book in the series, please get in touch.

Bloomsbury award

Bloomsbury have once again won the trade’s own ‘Publisher of the Year 2014’ for its academic, educational and professional list.

Re-inventing Teacher Education

Series editors: Viv Ellis, Marie Brennan, Meg Maguire and Peter Smagorinsky

The series aims to present robust, critical research studies in the broad field of teacher education, including initial or pre-service preparation, in-service and continuing professional development, from diverse theoretical and methodological perspectives. The series will become known both for its innovative approach to research in the field and for its underlying commitment to transforming the education of teachers.

Teacher education is currently one of the most pressing and topical issues in the field of educational research. Around the world, in a range of countries, there is strong interest in how teachers are prepared, the content of their education and training programmes, measurements of their effectiveness and, fundamentally, the role and function of the ‘good’ or successful teacher in society, either as a professional or, more recently, as a social entrepreneur or ‘leader’. The associated question of whether and how teachers should be developed professionally is also high on policy agendas around the world as teaching comes to be seen, in some jurisdictions, as a short-term mission rather than as a professional career.

In some countries, teacher education is seen as a vital tool in the building of national educational, scientific, cultural, technological and economic infrastructures. In others, teacher education has become a means by which those countries’ human capital can be improved, economic competitiveness leveraged and status as knowledge economies ensured. International educational ‘league tables’ such as PISA and TIMMS become strong drivers of teacher education policy and practice in national contexts. Across countries, private philanthropy takes its place alongside the resources of the state in funding and influencing the direction of policy.

While many of the drivers are common across these contexts, the direction of policy and how policies are enacted in practice varies considerably and the role of higher education in teacher preparation is often a significant variable. In many successful schools systems in east Asia and northern Europe (successful in terms of PISA ranking as well as other outcomes), universities play an important role in preparing teachers with up to five years’ study needed to qualify, and with a strong theoretical and research component. Meanwhile, in other countries, policy-makers seek to emulate the PISA success of, for example, Shanghai and Finland, by diminishing the role of universities, shrinking the attention to theory and research and, as in England, abandoning the requirement that teachers need to be qualified altogether. Contradictions in policy, practice and curriculum design are increasingly apparent and are, in part, related to the underlying cultural identity of teaching (as a profession, for example) as well as the distribution of wealth across those societies.

At the same time, renewed attention is being given to how teachers learn and where they learn most productively. Sociocultural theories of learning derived from psychology and cognitive anthropology have come to influence teacher education programme design as well as studies of workplace learning and from the field of organizational science. Increasingly (although still fairly rarely), consideration is given to the link between the development of teachers (individually) and the development or improvement of the school (collectively). Movements such as the Professional Development Schools in the US are one such example of attempts to bridge individual and collective development. Similarly, interest in Lesson Study, a model of teacher and school development popular in Japan since the nineteenth century, has taken off in many countries in the west. The same is true of Education Rounds, or Instructional Rounds, in Scotland and the United States – another means of stimulating individual teacher and school development by promoting opportunities for collaborative learning in schools. In China, Teacher Research Groups (a 1950s Soviet import) are common in schools with the purpose of stimulating collaborative inquiry with the support of external experts.

Books in the series will address the following key areas among others:

  • Teacher learning and development;
  • The idea of the ‘good’ teacher and teaching as a profession or craft;
  • Teacher education programme design, pedagogy and content, including the relationships and division of labour between schools and universities;
  • Teacher education policy in local, national and global contexts, including ‘travelling ideas’;
  • Reform in teacher education – the meaning of reform as a concept in the field and its connection to broader political issues;
  • Histories of teacher education and of teaching;
  • Teacher education as a form of global higher education.

The series seeks authored books as well as coherent edited collections that address these key areas . It will publish mixed methods as well as quantitative and qualitative research but each book will have to demonstrate both the rigour of the research reported as well as its critical and original stance.