ERG SES G 06, Intercultural Education
This paper aims at understanding what the dominant and public image English and Spanish universities promote from their entry profile and requirements of the student teachers.
When one approaches initial teacher education in England, the first observable matter is the structure of the PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education): one year of intense didactic training with the entry requirement of holding any undergraduate degree.
This is actually very similar to the Spanish requirement in order to become secondary education teacher, being definitely very different however if compared to the path to become Primary School Teacher. The objective of this paper is to unveil which is the main social and public image that (Spanish and English) universities promote from the entry profile of students. This profile is displayed on the webpage dedicated to entry requirements and profile recommendations.
It is well established that professional identity of teachers is a social and cultural construct that attempts to answer expectations as to what it means to be a teacher. Doubtlessly, in order to configure this identity, the institutions that offer these degrees draw from collective imaginary the ideal features for newcomers into the initial teacher training, as well as the profile they will have acquired at the end of their studies. This study aims precisely at describing, analyzing and explaining these issues.
In order to do so, we will analyze extracted information from the websites of universities of England (London: UCL-IOE and St. Mary’s University) and Spain (Madrid: UCM and UAM), drawing a line of connection with the construction of teachers’ identity. The reason for concentrating on presentations of the idea of the teacher on the Web is in part due to the fact that the Web is a relatively new form of communication and expression, and its rhetorical forms have influence in surreptitious ways. The naturalisation of our experience in using the Internet has the effect of deproblematising what we see and read.
This fact introduces the following questions, which at the same time are posed to the websites and subdivide the different sections of this work:
- Which kind of professional image is fostered through the entry profile?
- Which traits of the public imagination can be identified through the expectations of these universities?
- Which are the underpinning philosophical debates in both models, the Spanish and the English?
From the approach of comparative education, many are the studies that address this question, however, we hereby wish to undertake it from a philosophical perspective. Firstly, Chris Higgins’ work (The Good Life of Teaching, 2011) offers a pivotal framework to understand in depth the issue of teachers’ identity from his analysis on ‘helping professions’. Secondly, Charles Taylor (The Sources of The Self, 1989) helps us unveil the specific features of modern society that arise in the expectations placed by universities. Thirdly and finally, a wide range of contemporary discussions on initial teacher education are systematically presented in the volume Philosophical Perspectives on Teacher Education (2015), hereby employed to better understand the underpinnings debates on both English and Spanish teaching training models.
They also can enter at initial teacher education after having studied a BA in Education, which is a very similar degree of ‘Pedagogía’ in England it lasts 3 years.
 We have chosen this Institution after considering that King’s College does not offer Primary PGCE.
To achieve our aim, websites of 4 universities (two of them Spanish and two of them English) will be analyzed, carrying out a study of the image they uphold through the lens of three works: The Sources of The Self (Taylor, 1989), The Good Life of Teaching (Higgins, 2011) and Philosophical Perspectives on Teacher Education (Heilbronn & Foreman-Peck, 2015). Three are the main shared characteristics among those university webpages in the shown teacher’s image: plenty of commonplaces, support of pedagogical trends and discourse of efficacy over the profession. This paper, further, identifies three areas of tension: the type of ideal professional which is fostered (vocational or technician), the expectation of universities (not reflecting a realistic portrait of the profession) and in the contemporary debates that arise from said descriptions. In order to analyze the content of expectations in future teachers presented on the webpages, we have to consider two criteria. Entry requirement and entry profile (who can or who should apply). The first ones are usually applications of guidelines produced by central o local government, and the second ones are free descriptions created by universities to attract students. Throughout the development of this paper we will see (part of) the website’s description. In both countries, the requirements are given by the local government, through these we can identify who a teacher is supposed to be. On the other hand, the free descriptions universities present on perspective students profile, on future training, and on what future career would be offered to them, constitute the most detailed information in respect to the social imaginary around teacher’s identity. We can immediately see that universities share three common characteristics in their descriptions: commonplaces (obvious propositions that actually are transversal to any degree or job), pedagogical trends, cliché words such as “lateral thinking”, “competencies”, “ICT” or “creativity”; and efficientist language, i.e. the desire that education may become an experimental science.
I will bring the philosophical debates that underlie both training models, Spanish and English. And some proposals. I want to set out what I take to be the most important principles for shaping policy and practice in teacher education in the future. In doing this, I shall draw on established ideas, but I hope to show the powerful vision of teacher education that they can provide. I shall do this in relation to three aspects of the question: (I) the idea of the university, (II) the idea of the competent teacher, and (III) the existential challenge of teaching. The first issue I shall address is the idea of a university for future teachers, aimed at generating a type of professional who has a qualification (or certain techniques, domains or skills, in the Spanish case) to be able to teach and be inserted in the labor ‘market’. On this issue, voices have been opposing in defense of liberal university education (McIntyre, 1984, Dunne, 1993, Carr, 2009) among which we will highlight McAllister’s. The second issue is the idea of the competent teacher. Is s/he the one who fulfills the requirement of the key competences of international organizations? The one that deploys techniques that can later be measurable? To address this, we will use reflections from Biesta (2015). And the third matter I will address is the existential challenge of teaching that cannot be reduced neither to the "friendly view" expectation of websites nor evidences if we want to do justice to the very idea of teaching.
Carr, D. (2006). Professional and personal values and virtues in education and teaching. Oxford Review of Education, 32(02), 171-183. De Puelles Benítez, M. (1979). Historia de la educación en España. Tomo III: De la restauración a la II república (Vol. 3). Ministerio de Educación. Dunne, J. (1993). Back to the Rough Ground:'Phronesis' and'techne'in modern philosophy and in Aristotle. Greene, M. (1973). Teacher as stranger: educational philosophy for the modern age. Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Heilbronn, R., & Foreman-Peck, L. (Eds.). (2015). Philosophical perspectives on teacher education. John Wiley & Sons. Higgins, C. (2011). The good life of teaching: An ethics of professional practice (Vol. 22). John Wiley & Sons. Ley Orgánica 8/2013, de 9 de diciembre, para la mejora de la calidad educativa. Boletín Oficial del Estado. Disponible en: www. boe. es/diario_boe/txt. php. MacIntyre, A. (1984). After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. University of Notre Dame Press. Rabazas Romero, T., & Ramos Zamora, S. (2006). La construcción del género en el franquismo y los discursos educativos de la Sección Femenina. Ricoeur, P (1989). “La vida: un relato en busca de narrador”. En: Educación y política, Buenos Aires, Docencia, pp. 45-58. Standish, P. (2016). La enseñanza como exposición: La educación en negación. Revista de Educación, 373, 109-129. Taylor, C. (1989). Sources of the self: The making of the modern identity. Harvard University Press. Viñao, A., & Frago, A. V. (2004). Escuela para todos: educación y modernidad en la España del siglo XX. Marcial Pons Historia.
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