23 SES 12 A, Policy Reforms and Teacher Professionalism
Global reforming driven by a neoliberal ideas are reshaping educational systems of the western word. This reshaping is having a profound impact on the educational practice and on the position of the teacher where teachers often is highlighted as the most significant ‘factor’ in the educational process that houses a logic about how teachers are expected to be and what skills are legitimate and valuable for both society and the individual (Ball, 2003). The central role of teacher education for the development of the education system has been highlighted through this reform process (Goodson 2008; Lauder, Brown & Halsey, 2009: Lawn & Furlong 2009; Antikainen 2010; Briant & Doherty, 2012; Sarakinioti & Tsatsaroni 2015) and by the official policy statement that has been made by among others the European commissioner (ET2020).
This study is focusing on a specific part of the Swedish reform process, namely the reforming of teacher education that resulted in the start of a “new” teacher education in Sweden in 2011. The government reform for the teacher education defines in many ways a policy turn in that it turns away from the policy aspiration that has permeated the Swedish teacher education reforms between the years 1947-2007 to develop a unified teacher education with a common scientific cognitive knowledge base (Beach et al., 2014). In the recent round of reform, this aspiration has been abandoned and has formally reinstated the concept of a divided profession based on the argument that teachers need different skills and abilities, depending on students' ages and that unification had led to extensive progressivism and a devaluing of basic teaching skills and subject knowledge.
The current study is conducted at a teacher education department located at a major university in Sweden. The overall aim is to explore how the policy ideas that are expressed in various reform texts, particularly the teacher education commission report entitled 'A Sustainable Teacher Education’ (SOU 2008:109, 2008) has been transformed into the local teacher education practice. The aim is to examine the possible implications of the changed policy, particularly in relation to the professional knowledge that is mediated to the category of teacher students who study the program for prospective primary teachers (grundlärare).
The study focuses on analyses of the examination practice and aims to make visible both how the national policy has been transformed, distributed and translated into educational practice, as well as the pedagogical discourses that occur and how these discourses are operating through the teacher education examination practice and thereby shapes the legitimate professional knowledgebase and professional identity for prospective primary teachers. The study is based on the following questions:
What pedagogical discourses operates in the examinations practice?
What skills and competencies are legitimized through these discourses?
Theoretical assumptions and concepts in relation to the study's intention is Bernstein's description of policy processes. In this case, we mainly use Bernstein's (2000) theoretical explanation of the pedagogic device that describes the process when educational policies are interpreted and reformulated to finally be realized in teaching in the educational practice, and the concept of the pedagogic discourse that can be used to analyze the skills and competencies that emerges through the examination assignments that student teachers must accomplish and pass to become certified as a primary teachers in the Swedish elementary school (Bernstein, 2000; Singh et al., 2013)
Antikainen, A. (2010). The capitalist state and education: the case of restructuring the Nordic model. Current Sociology, 58, 530-550. Ball SJ. (2003) The teacher's soul and the terrors of perfomativity. In: Ball SJ (ed) Education Policy and Social Class The selected work of Stephen J. Ball. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group, 143-156. Beach D, Bagley C, Eriksson A, et al. (2014) Changing teacher education in Sweden: Using meta-ethnographic analysis to understand and describe policy making and educational changes. Teaching and Teacher Education 44: 160-167. Bernstein, B. (2000). Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: theory, research, critique. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Briant, E. & Doherty, C (2012). Teacher educators mediating curricular reform: anticipating the Australian curriculum. Teaching education, 23(1), 51,69 Goodson, I. (Ed.)(2008). Investigating the Teacher’s Life and Work. Rotterdam: Sense. Europeiska commissionen (ET2020). Education and Training 2020 – Schools Policy. Shaping career-long perspectives on teaching. A guide on policies to improve Initial Teacher Education. Government Bill 2009/10:89. (2010) Bäst i klassen - en ny lärarutbildning [Top of the class - new teacher education programmes]. Stockholm. Lauder, H., Brown, P. & Halsey, A.H. (2009). Sociology of Education: A Critical History and Prospects for the Future. Oxford Review of Education, 35(5), 249-260. Lawn, M. & Furlong, J. (2009). The Disciplines of Education in the UK: Between the Ghost and the Shadow. Oxford Review of Education, 35(5), 541-552. Sarakinioti, A. & Tsatsaroni, A. (2015). European education policy initiatives and teacher education curriculum reforms in Greece. Education Inquiry, 6(3), 259-288. Singh, P., Thomas, S., & Harris, J. (2013). Recontextualising policy discourses: a Bernsteinian perspective on policy interpretation, translation, enactment. Journal of Education Policy, 28(4), 465-480. doi:10.1080/02680939.2013.770554 SOU 2008:109. (2008) En hållbar lärarutbildning : betänkande [Sustainable teacher education]. Statens offentliga utredningar, 0375-250X ; 2008:109. Stockholm: Fritze.
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