10 SES 04 E, Research on Teacher Educators
Bourdieu’s argument that the term ‘professional’ should not even be used (he saw it as a folk concept, smuggled into scientific language) flew in the face of a reality in which professionals persisted and proliferated in (mostly) ingenuous defiance one of the most eminent French public intellectuals of the age. It may already be too late to save a chameleon term which is widely used in contexts of ambition and admiration but is also viewed as inherently slippery, imbued with ambitions for high status and exclusivity, credentialism and over-regulation, and as a product of self-serving elitism. Teacher educators have not been immune to these slings and arrows. In some parts of the world both teachers and teacher educators have faced exceptional levels of public contumely, not least from government ministers (the enemies of promise;the blob, Gove, 2013) in their bids to find rhetorical space within which to introduce neo liberal reforms (Ball, 2013). In other countries (notably Ireland and Finland) the place of these professionals is much more highly esteemed and underpinned by masters-level, research-informed teacher education. It may be that in the case of the latter there is an inherent appreciation of Rutherford’s observation on the unique place of teaching; that whilst all animals learn, only humans teach(Rutherford 2018, p.227). The Place Model (Clarke, 2016 & 2016) will be used to reimagine this important borderland between the world as it is and the world as it should be by speculatively redeploying Doreen Massey’s notion of Geographical Imaginationto reimagine to the place of teacher educators. The Model (Figure 1) is a novel interdisciplinary lens which will be used to critically deconstruct ‘professional’ and to reimagine a commodious and accessible conceptualization, consisting of five dystopias and a potentially potent oxymoron – inclusive professional.
The word professional attracts many rhetorical ambiguities not least because it is often defined by its ideals. At the core of the ideal professional is a combination of two key attributes: expertise and trustworthiness. Professionals deserve to be believed because, unlike thelaity, they are, in their respective fields, better at finding the truth. However, they will be trusted only to the extent that they are not deceitful and are trustworthy (O’Neill, 2000). Without this, a profession becomes what wrestling is to sport, a monetized and fabricated performance, which could be readily substituted by robotized AI.Meanwhile, Eliot Freidson’s (2001) alternatives to professionalism, his other two logics, bureaucracy and the market, are in the ascendancy, shaping both the professions and individual professionals. AI is posited as a further logic here, one whose protean development looks set to encroach further on the place of teacher educators in ways which seem increasingly less than transparent or predictable. And yet, none of these alternative logics is sufficient for what we still want or need or demand from professionals - as, for example, in Bangladesh where an ideal ‘superhuman’ teacher is ‘neutral, kind hearted, friendly, knowledgeable, brave, sincere, dynamic, cordial, selfless, a motivator of children, attentive to students and unbiased, sincere, punctual and respectful’(Alhamdan et al., 2014, p499). By contrast, George Bernard Shaw decried all professions as merely conspiracies against the laity (Shaw, 1906). It may be that we, the laities, are asking too much, even whilst decrying elitism and expense; offering the never-sufficient professional up to the tongue lashing of the demagogue, yet always wanting more from the teacher educator. It may be that we, the professionals, are asking too much, wanting to maintain an elite, inflexible and expensive place of esteem even while hoarding knowledge, excluding many talented people and hiding the fallibilities which can be exploited by the unscrupulous. We need a better map of this extensive but infinitely contestable place: the place of professionals – here exemplified in mapping the place of teacher educators.
The Place Model juxtaposes two senses of place to achieve a timely, a priori examination of the place of teacher education professionals: · place in the humanistic geography tradition as a process of expertise building —location in relation to the expanding horizon of a cumulative, career-long learning journey, and also, · place, in the sociological sense of esteem. Combining these two senses of place provides an interdisciplinary framework for imaginative discourse which can yield a wide-ranging and challenging set of perspectives on teacher educators as professionals. Whist undeniably reductionist in nature (like many models), the Place Model presents a usefully uncluttered landscape which is mapped in a way that is intentionally schematic rather than mathematical in nature (although it does look like a graph), a heuristic rather than a positivist equation. Like all maps, it is subjective, like all models it is wrong. Nevertheless, the Place Model is a map with a purpose. It is proffered as an interdisciplinary thinking tool, a mirror which teacher educators of all kinds might use to consider the changing nature their own unique place as the professionals who teach teachers to teach. The Model is 'populated' using the classroom thinking skills technique, Living Graphs (Leat, 2001) to position relevant examples which have been drawn from EJTE papers (from the last three years) and also some key, seminal exemplars drawn from the author's knowledge of the field.
Applying the Place Model to Teacher Educators provides a useful map of the place of teacher educators of all kinds. The Model delivers a useful map of the tensions which exist between the many contrasting viewpoints about who, if anyone, might still be a professional. Those entering the professions must have opportunities to cast a critical eye over their careers, to appreciate that many professionals are neither expert nor trustworthy, are vilified rather than supported by those in power, are subject to both marketization of their services and to bureaucratic accountability and also to replacement or augmentation by AI. Likewise, the Model points to ways in which markets and bureaucracy are deforming underestimations of human potential whist the potential of AI is as yet insufficiently understood. Bourdieu, for all his enduring esteem, has perhaps underestimated the persistent place of professionals as trustworthy experts, particularly in roles involving human qualities which continue to be in demand but cannot be straightforwardly bought, sold, measured or robotized. Such is the challenging and indispensable place of the inclusive professional.
References Alhamdan, B., Al-Saadi, K. E., Baroutsis, A., Du Plessis, A., Hamid, O., & Honan, E. (2014). Media representations. of teachers across five countries. Comparative Education, 50(4), 490–505. doi.org/10.1080/03050068.2013.853476 Ball, S. (2013). The education debate (2nd ed.). Bristol: Policy Press. Bourdieu, P. & Wacquant L. (1992) An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. Clarke, L. (2016). Teacher status and professional learning: The place model. Northwich: Critical Publishing. Clarke, L. (2016) Mapping teacher status and career-long professional learning: the Place Model, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 39:1, 69-83, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2016.1230540 Freidson, E. (2001) Professionalism: The third logic. Cambridge: Polity Press. Gatenby, M (2015) Explainer: what is credentialism and is a degree more than just a piece of paper? The Conversation. http://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-credentialism-and-is-a-degree-more-than-just-a-piece-of-paper-40941 Gove, M. (2013, March 23). I refuse to surrender to the Marxist teachers hell-bent on destroying our schools: Education Secretary berates ‘the new enemies of promise’ for opposing his plans. Mail on Sunday. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2298146/I-refuse-surrender- Marxist-teachers-hell-bent-destroying-schools-Education-Secretary-berates-new-enemiespromise-opposing-plans.html Leat, D. (2001) Thinking through Geography, London, Optimus Education. Massey, D. (2007). For space. London: Sage. O’Neill, H (2001) 'Neill, Onora (2002). A Question of Trust: The BBC Reith Lectures. Cambridge University Press Rutherford, A. (2018) The Book of Humans: The Story of How We Became Us, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Shaw G. B. (1906) The Doctor’s Dilemma. Tuan, Y. (1977) Space and place: The perspective of experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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