27 SES 03 A, Powerful Knowledge across School Subjects
This paper responds to the question posed by Furlong and Whitty (2017) as to what may constitute the powerful professional knowledge required for teacher education, by drawing a comparison between the teacher education system and infrastructure in Finland and England. These two contexts are of particular interest due to the changes in structure and organisation within the teacher education system, and both the implicit and explicit implications this has on how teachers can be prepared as subject specialists. Within Finland, the absence of teacher standards, and the research-orientation of teacher preparation programmes, firmly places this approach within what Furlong and Whitty might describe as an “integrated knowledge tradition”. Combined with the recent introduction of 'multidisciplinary learning modules' for the lower secondary schools and 'thematic subject modules' for the general upper secondary schools, we ask how does this affect the epistemic quality of teacher preparation programmes? Conversely in England, a systematic shift towards school-based teacher education, and a broadening of the knowledge-based requirements of newly qualified teachers, has had an impact on the structure and capacity of the system to provide subject specialist teacher education. The English system could be described as part of the “practical knowledge tradition” (Furlong and Whitty, ibid) and as such the paper questions what are the opportunities in both these teacher education structures for new teachers to be inducted into high quality powerful professional knowledge, and what opportunities are there for them to develop an understanding of epistemic quality in teaching and learning.
Furlong, J. and Whitty, G. (2017) Knowledge and the Study of Education. Oxford: Symposium Books
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