PUBLISHED! ‘Transforming Teacher Education: Reconfiguring the Academic Work’

After a really, really rapid turnaround in Bloomsbury’s production department, Transforming Teacher Education is now published and on sale in good bookstores everywhere (OK, UK bookstores now; Europe in a few weeks; rest of the world in a month). Discount coupons for different markets are available here for the USA and here for everywhere else. Today we noticed that amazon.co.uk had sold out of paperback copies on day one. Kerching? Probably not but promising nonetheless.

Although Jane and I knew that the book addressed a key topic, we didn’t realise that it would be quite so topical given the recent publication of the government’s Carter Review of ITT and the chaotic destabilization of the system that took place under Michael Gove and his allies. Now, in England, we are facing shortages of primary school teachers and specialist STEM teachers; regional teacher shortages; several universities have withdrawn from initial teacher education with others considering their own future; we’re seeing probably the greatest risk to quality in the last 30 years consequent to the fragmentation of provision and the largely failed experiment of School Direct (if it worked, it worked because the universities baled it out behind the scenes, snaffling most of the £9K fee). In sum, teacher education in England is now heading in the opposite direction to that taken in countries whose schools systems we seek to emulate (e.g. those in east Asia and Finland), led by a neo-Victorian rhetoric of pupil apprenticeship and missionary work.

I’ll be posting something about the argument of the book in the next few weeks, prior to the launch seminar on 16th March in London. The preface and Introduction will soon be available to download in the Chapters section on this site. But, in essence, Jane and I are arguing that while teacher education certainly does need to change, reformers’ ideas have not achieved and will not achieve the kind of systemic change in relationships between higher education and the profession that we need. We need to transform teacher education – not ‘reform’ it; not defend it. Transformation means changing the basis on which we understand the activity; changing the frames and terms of reference, the values as well as the rhetoric.

We were absolutely thrilled to get the following endorsements from many of the key thinkers in the field. I think Bloomsbury were thrilled also and they decided to print a selection on the back cover and all of them on the inside front pages. Jane and I are honoured. Thank you.

 ‘This book is an insightful and highly readable analysis of the work of

teacher educators in England, but its value extends far beyond that

setting. Combining original studies of teacher educators with trenchant

critique of education policy trends in England and elsewhere, this book is a

must-read for those who reject the “defend or reform” dichotomy and instead

want genuine transformation of teacher education.’

Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, USA

‘This excellent book is a very timely and insightful analysis of some of

the consequences – both intended and unintended – arising out of a time

of unprecedented change in the teacher education sector.’

Samantha Twiselton, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education, UK

 ‘In this thoughtful volume, Viv Ellis and Jane McNicholl offer a deliberate

plan for the transformation of initial teacher education. Transforming

Teacher Education represents a vision that neither defends nor reforms but

uncompromisingly takes bold steps towards collaboration and collective

creativity, a vision for remaking initial teacher education such that another

future for our work is possible – not just in England but elsewhere in the world

too.’

A Lin Goodwin, Vice Dean and Evenden Professor of Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, USA

‘The politics of teacher education have been destabilized in most countries,

often resulting in derisory discussion of both teachers and teacher educators.

This book provides a helpful framework to think pro-actively about teacher

education as a field and offers a seriously challenging agenda for transforming

that field of practice. It considers the much neglected daily work of teacher

educators and their positioning in higher education institutions and comes

up with an important agenda in which public universities and the profession

might better work together to develop and change the practices of teacher

education. Such a provocative agenda offers the potential for researchers and

practitioners in many countries to build both scholarship and practice in ways

that invite multilateral international networks to develop.’

Marie Brennan, Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia

‘Written by authors with a deep understanding of developments in teacher

education, Transforming Teacher Education is a timely and important book that

captures the complexity of the work of teacher educators. Based on their

extensive research and offering a transformative agenda, it is an important

source for practitioners, managers and policymakers who are dedicated to

transform teacher education and improve the work and academic status

of all those who work within the field.’

Anja Swennen, Researcher and Teacher Educator, Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogy, VU UniversityAmsterdam, The Netherlands

‘This is an important book. The authors offer a rich, complex and detailed

approach to an alternative “transforming” perspective, drawing upon a

wide range of theory and research which they link to practical outcomes.

They have put forward versions of this analysis at conferences in different

countries – notably the USA and the UK where the neoliberal alternative to

“transformation” has been prominent – but now the publication of the book

can provide teachers and scholars with a substantial basis that will enable

them to review and build on these constructive ideas in their own work.’

Brian Street, Professor Emeritus of Language and Education, King’s College London, UK