28 SES 13 A, Teachers in the Context of Globalisation: Prospects for an expanding field
In education, neo-institutional theory (NI) is largely associated with the theoretical work of John Meyer (J.e.a. Meyer, 1977) and subsequent analysis of long-term international trends in schooling employing quantitative methods and large databases . This current within NI is closely aligned with the new institutionalism in sociology and organizational analysis (Dimaggio & Powell, 1991), but can devolve toward a mechanistic view of teaching and "teacher effects". Another NI current is heavily influenced by Berger and Luckman (1966) and focuses on the ideological or cultural nature of social institutions. By theorizing about how certain packets of meaning come to influence the organization of society, the conception of social change here moves away from a rigid isomorphism and resembles structuration (Giddens, 1986). Moreover, this vein of research contains ethnographic research and focuses more on the dynamics between local, national and global levels. In this paper, I will review works on teachers and teacher educational policy written by authors typically associated with NI (Akiba & LeTendre, 2009, 2017; LeTendre, Baker, Akiba, Goesling, & Wiseman, 2001; LeTendre & Wiseman, 2015). In doing so, I will discuss the views of globalization present in these works, while also referring to the broader and significant debates about world culture and "global schooling" (Baker & LeTendre, 2005; J.W. Meyer, 2007; Ramirez, 2012). The contributions of NI to understanding teachers in a globalized world are in demonstrating the long-term, highly pervasive spread of practices and assumptions encoded within modern school systems. National culture proponents often overestimate the effect of local cultural traditions and fail to situate how teacher work has been affected by world-wide trends in mass schooling. This tension between the global and local, regional or national cultures remains a key area of debate. Other key issues concern how change occurs within the policy discourse among dominant nations, how certain practices and policies come to be dominant, and whether the transmission of teacher policies are driven by overt political interests? NI scholars focusing on teachers face the challenge of refining a model of cultural diffusion that better incorporates economic and ideological power differentials among nations. The recent resurgence of nationalism hence poses significant challenges to underlying core assumptions of theories like isomorphism, suggesting that dynamic models more sensitive towards cultural conflict and political ideology are needed.
Akiba, M., & LeTendre, G. (2009). Improving Teacher Quality: The U.S. Teaching Force in Global Context. New York: Teachers College Press. Akiba, M., & LeTendre, G. (Eds.). (2017). The Routledge International Handbook of Teacher Quality and Policy. New York: Routledge. Baker, D., & LeTendre, G. (2005). National Differences, Global Similarities: World Culture and the Future of Schooling. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Berger, P., & Luckman, T. (1966). The social construction of reality. New York: Anchor. Dimaggio, P., & Powell, W. (1991). The new institutionalism in organizational analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Giddens, A. (1986). The Constitution of Society. Berkeley, CA: University of California. LeTendre, G., Baker, D., Akiba, M., Goesling, B., & Wiseman, A. (2001). Teacher's work: Institutional Isomorphism and cultural variation in the U.S., Germany and Japan. Educational Researcher, 30(6), 3-16. LeTendre, G., & Wiseman, A. (2015). Promoting and Sustaining a Quality Teaching Workforce. Bingley: Emerald. Meyer, J.e.a. (1977). The world educational revolution, 1950-1970. Sociology of Education, 50(October), 242-258. Meyer, J.W. (2007). Globalization: Theory and Trends. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 48(4), 261-273. doi:10.1177/0020715207079529 Ramirez, F. (2012). The world society perspective: concepts, assumptions, and strategies. Comparative Education, 48(2), 1-17.
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