Impact and evidence: the ATEA conference and the LSIA researching teacher ed winter school

I’ll be talking at the annual Australian Teacher Education Association conference in Brisbane this coming Friday (7 July). Drawing on my ongoing research into ‘innovation’ in teacher education – how practices and institutions change (or don’t change) in response both to internally and externally persuasive discourses but also to accumulated expertise within the teaching profession and changing societies – I’ll be looking in particular at how self-style ‘2.0 reformers’ position themselves rhetorically and construct their imagined future impact on the basis of illusory evidence. Simultaneously, I’ll also be slightly depressed at the defensive and conservative stance of much of the university teacher education community and what often comes over either as a proud immunity to change having internalised all the audit and accountability technologies or as a patronising attitude towards an activity some education researchers regard as sub-academic work. And then, of course, I’ll be suggesting some ways out of this bind. Here’s the abstract:

Reforming/transforming teacher education: The construction of impact in times of evidence-free policy

Political reforms benefit from what from Malkenes (2016) after Friedman (2002) has called the ‘problem formulation privilege’. Part of the rhetorical work of defining a policy problem is to construct the impact of reforms through future-oriented evidentiary justifications. But what happens when the proposed pathway to impact or, in fact, the actual representations of that impact are evidence-free? And how might the practitioner and professional communities subject to these reforms act agentically in such politically and rhetorically complex environments.

Drawing on research and development work in international contexts – and taking a non-defensive stance towards improving teacher education practice – in this presentation I will argue that teacher education as a field of higher education needs to rethink its relationship with the teaching profession, reconfigure its academic contribution to teacher development, and learn how to become as rhetorically adept as the reformers. I will propose a transformative stance and non-reformist reforms (Lipman 2011) that arise out of the professionally engaged and socially critical academic work of teacher educators.

Then, on Monday 10 July, I’ll be teaching on the third Winter/Summer School in Cultural-Historical Approaches to Researching Teacher Education at the Learning Sciences Institute of Australia in Melbourne alongside Joce Nuttall and Alex Kostogriz.

Then it’s my birthday and I come home!