22 SES 01 B, Teacher Training & Research
In recent theoretical work on higher education, Magnússon and Rytzler (2018) problematized the hegemonic character of Constructive Alignment (Biggs, 2014). This critique partly regards Constructive Alignment being a perfect model for the implementation of the highly political Bologna-process (Cousin, 2012; Friberg, 2015), but also that it is a model that risks missing important pedagogical features of higher education (Andersen, 2010; Wickström, 2015).
The aim of this article is to look specifically on the Swedish teacher training as it has features that are particularly interesting to discuss from the pedagogical perspective and didactical alternative suggested by Magnússon and Rytzler (2018). There are several reasons for this critical study of Swedish teacher education. First, an interesting characteristic of teacher education is that the theoretical subject matter, i.e. its content, and the forms of mediation of this content, have the same scientific bases, namely pedagogy and didactics. There are thus built-in possibilities for reflection on both what is happening in the teaching itself and how this happens. Second, Swedish teacher education is highly regulated by state authorities and both its structure and some details of its content are therefore formulated by political authorities to a high degree. We therefore argue that the Bologna process's pursuit of transparency in combination with the teacher program's highly regulated content opens up for an escalating implementation of Constructive Alignment among university staff working in teacher education. The third reason is the politicized role of teacher education. In Sweden, for example, there is no educational program that is subject to so many political discussions and debates, or as frequent reforms, as the teacher training programs. Many are the politicians and debaters that opine about what a teacher education should contain and how it should be conducted. The common nominator in these often very polarized discussions is that the school is the key to the future society, that it is assumed to fail this social mission, and that the quality of the school depends on the quality of the teacher education. The major dividing lines in these discussions are drawn on the view of the future society, the view of quality in the school and the view of the school's main social mission. Whatever the political agenda, different political camps agree that the school is in crisis but disagree as to how the crisis should best be resolved. From a scientific and didactic point of view, it becomes quite obvious that the education politics, as they emerge in debates and media, lack both nuance and grounding in the empirical reality of the education system.
The method of this paper is a theoretical analysis that follows the following steps. First of all we describe university pedagogy as a phenomenon that is highly affected by the Bologna—process, and discuss Constructive Alignment as a particular example of a pedagogy that runs in line with the Bologna-process. Thereafter, we describe Swedish teacher education and its politicized role. Finally we develop some didactical and pedagogical arguments using a didactical triad as regards teacher education, i.e. as a content with transformative qualities, as a practice aiming to alter people in specific manners, and as a subject of university pedagogy. We thus develop a more thorough contribution to the field of higher education for further reflection about teaching and education among teachers in universities. For the purposes of this text we take our point of departure in the text Uneven Development by Deborah Britzman (2007). In it, Britzman points out some key issues of teacher education that make it unapt to deal with educational relations as uncertain and ethical activities. The main problem is that teachers and students that meet in teacher education have been affected by their own educational background in a way that makes it difficult to approach education and educational relations anew and in productive ways. Drawing on William James’ struggle with understanding one’s own mind and what to do when this understanding is in constant conflict with the understanding of the minds of others, Britzman understands education as something that de-familiarizes and disrupts our minds. A teacher education that does not acknowledge or deal with these characteristics of the experience of teaching and learning will continue to reproduce hatred against development, claims Britzman. This will hinder teachers, teacher students and, in the end, their students in their relational development. Since the student has the character of a newcomer, the hospitality of the teacher comes with certain educational demands. Since each student, as a unique newcomer, calls for a unique welcome the teacher must accept his own incompletion (c.f., Rancière, 1991).
Britzman argues that the hatred against development in teacher education derives from ignorance towards the relational character of both being (in the world) and becoming (of the world), and claims that what is lacking in teacher education is a relational understanding of our selves and of our world. When people develop it is their relation to the world that is altered, but not as a side-effect of the development, since the development can never occur outside of the relation itself. In order to develop we need to be in a relational mode and since we always are in relation to something, to the world, to other people and so on, we cannot claim to be developing if we look at ourselves as autonomous subjects with the ability to act totally outside of a network of relations. There are some educational thinkers that have raised the question of a de-professionalization of the language that separates teachers from the surrounding community (e.g., Noddings, 1984; Masschelein, 2010) but we argue that the most important thing is to work on is an understanding of the inherent ethical characteristics of educational relations, and how to communicate this understanding verbally within the community of teachers in becoming. This does not call for a de-professionalization but rather a re-professionalization of the language of teachers and teacher students, including a reclaiming of the language of pedagogy as something that is needed. We argue that the tradition of Didaktik, rather than other common models of university pedagogy (e.g., Construction Alignment), contains theoretical and practical tools that are more useful for teachers and students that gather around a thing of common interest and study. By considering the triadic relation of the teacher, the student, and the subject matter, Didaktik safeguards the transformative and emancipatory potentials of this relation.
Andersen, H. L. (2010). “Constructive alignment” og risikoen for en forsimplende universitetspӕdagogik. Dansk Universitetspӕdagogisk Tidsskrift nr. 9, 2010. Biggs, J. (2014). Constructive alignment in university teaching. HERDSA Review of Higher Education Vol. 1. 5-22. Britzman, D. (2007). Teacher education as uneven development: toward a psychology of uncertainty. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 10(1), 1-12. Cousin, G. (2012). Getting our students to engage: a review of two key contributions 10 years on.Higher Education Research & Development. 31(1), 15-20. Friberg, T. (2015). A holistic, self-reflective perspective on victimization within higher education in Sweden. Critical Studies in Education. 56(3) 384-394. Magnússon, G. & Rytzler, J. (2018). Approaching higher education with Didaktik: university teaching for intellectual emancipation. European Journal of Higher Education, DOI: 10.1080/21568235.2018.1515030 Masschelein, J. (2010). E-ducating the Gaze. The Idea of a Poor Pedagogy [Electronic version]. Ethics and education, 5(1), pp. 43—54. Masschelein, J., & Simons, M. (2013). In Defense of the School. A Public Issue [Electronic version]. Belgium: E-ducation, Culture & Society Publishers, Leuven. Noddings, N. (1984): Caring – a feminine approach to ethics and moral education. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Rancière, J. (1991). The Ignorant Schoolmaster. Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Wickström, J. (2015). Dekonstruerad länkning. En kritisk läsning av Constructive Alignment inom svensk högskolepedagogik och pedagogisk utveckling. Utbildning & Demokrati, 24(3), 25-48.
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