01 SES 14 A, Policy, Politics and Practice: The ‘Fast Policy’ of Initial and Continuing Teacher Education
In the first presentation, we introduce the notion of ‘fast policy’, and apply it to practices of professional learning and development. The concept of ‘fast policy’ refers to borrowing new policy ideas, especially ‘ideas that work’, which are moving around the world at seemingly ‘social-media speed’ (Peck and Theodore (2015, xv). ‘Fast policy’ finds its manifestation in various ways in different fields of public administration. In this paper, our aim is to study how ‘fast policy’ is applied to teacher education. One implication is that teacher education programs are increasingly deregulated and privatised, as well as how such programs are designed to provide ‘what works’. We reveal how continuing teacher education is characterized by a tendency towards encouraging teachers to respond quickly to particular kinds of evidence; in some contexts, this includes more standardized literacy and numeracy and science (often expressed as STEM) outcomes. However, this is a complex process, and expressed differently in different contexts. We exemplify these nuances by drawing upon approaches to teacher education in different Anglo and Nordic contexts. We show how more testing practices are reflective of fast policy in Australia, and how the focus upon such tests influences teachers’ learning practices. In the Nordic context (Finland, Norway and Sweden) we show how ‘fast policy’ is expressed differently in those settings. In this way, we seek to reveal the value of analysing teacher education policy more broadly in relation to the notion of ‘fast policy’, at the same time as we show how fast policy effects, and challenges to such effects, are expressed differently in different contexts. Standardized testing is not simply somehow responsible for ‘speeding up’ educational policy in the Nordic countries, and does not exert the sort of influence that it does in Australia. In Sweden, ‘fast policy’ has been indicated through sudden changes in politics whenever the government changes. In Norway, ‘fast policy’ is realised through continuous educational reforms for quality development. In Finland, fast policy effects are evident in the way private-enterprise models from the business world are adopted in the public sector more broadly. ‘Fast policy’ approaches are evident in the transfer of money from stable and regular public funding to more 'agile projects' as part of the government’s focus upon certain ‘key projects’. These reforms are part of more business-oriented approach to governing practices in the public sector more broadly, not only in education.
Peck, J. & Theodore, N. Fast policy: Experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
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