Teacher Education Exchange was a collective of 8 university-based teacher educators in England that I convened during 2017. Each of us also had considerable professional experience in schools. Our aim was to stimulate a discussion among those who work in universities on the preparation of teachers about its future development and to do so in non-defensive ways. We knew that the ways we prepare teachers should change but we rejected the simplistic, damaging and often narcissistic ‘solutions’ that were being proposed by a new type of education policy actor – the ‘2.0 reformer’/entrepreneur. My interest in bringing together such a collective was partly to build on earlier research published in Transforming Teacher Education: Reconfiguring the Academic Work, a chapter from which you can download from this site.
Our main efforts went into producing a pamphlet stating our position and making the case for a new approach to teacher development and then following up its publication with national and international discussion meetings. We called the pamphlet Teacher Development 3.0: How we can transform the professional education of teachers, picking up on the reformers’ tech-inspired metaphor of system redundancy (where 2.0 replaces 1.0). A key premise of our argument was that the reformist 2.0 position was naïve and damaging to the profession, the young people being taught, and society more generally. Crudely put, if you reduce teacher education primarily to an exercise in the deliberate practice of certain classroom routines, you ignore the social, cultural, economic and political facts of both society and human development. We believed that if you strongly identify as a ‘2.0 reformer’, you are more likely not only to resist explanations of differential educational outcomes for students that involve structural racism, for example, but to be complicit in its reproduction even if, apparently paradoxically, you maintain you are interested in ‘social mobility’. ‘2.0 reformers’ tend to have meritocratic views of society whereby ‘better’ teaching ‘unleashes’ every child’s potential, regardless of issues of health, housing or economic justice, etc., that afflict those children’s lives.
Teacher Development 3.0 was downloaded from our dedicated website (now closed) more than 2000 times during 2017; in the end, we stopped counting. We also discussed the pamphlet at meetings across England and in Norway, Denmark, the USA, Australia and China and we were awarded a symposium devoted to Teacher Development 3.0 at the British Educational Research Association conference in September 2017. We inspired similar efforts among collectives of radical teacher educators in the US and Australia as well as in England. And, as planned, we ended our activities as Teacher Education Exchange in January 2018 having agreed to take up the ideas we had developed together in our own activities in the years that follow.
You can download the pamphlet Teacher Development 3.0 here and also from the ResearchGate website.
Teacher Education Exchange members were: Keith Turvey (Brighton), David Spendlove (Manchester), Kenny Frederick (then at Brunel), Ruth Heilbron (UCL IoE), Simon Gibbons & Meg Maguire (KCL), Ali Messer (Roehampton) & me.
It was a good year!