23 SES 06 D, Teacher Education
This paper is based on a study that examined policy making processes in the area of teacher education (TE) in Finland and Norway. Particular attention has been given to the roles different actors play in TE policy processes and the effects of their involvement on the nature of these processes. An important issue to be discussed in the paper is the difference between evidence-based and knowledge-based policy making in higher education (HE). This relates to the difference between policy processes relying heavily on political actors and changes in political conditions (Norway), versus processes primarily rooted in academic expertise (Finland)(Afdal, 2012 ). The paper will discuss the historical reasons for these differences as well as the possible consequences for the effectiveness of TE policies in both countries.
TE policy is interpreted in the paper as the national political intentions with respect to what education should be doing and how it should be done. Policy making in this paper understood as a government-initiated formation process open to multitudes of influences that also change and develop the process itself.
Firstly, a framework for comparative studies of HE policies has been used in the underlying study (Gornitzka, 1999). Its point of departure is organizational theory and the basic idea that all higher educational organizations interact with their environment, though in different ways and to a different extent. In TE policy making processes, this reflects the fact that the HE institutions responsible for TE programs have to play by “rules” set by the government and, to a certain extent, by internal historical structures. Still, the actors involved in policy processes have the opportunity to negotiate and develop the processes themselves. Employing these perspectives on policy processes for TE means looking at TE, the relationship between TE and the government, and the frames set and negotiated forward in the policy making process.
Secondly, arguments for and the discussion concerning evidence-based policy making in (higher) education are included (Biesta, 2007) in the analytical framework. Some focal argument of this discussion are (a) Educational research (ER) did not provide answers to the questions the government asks in order to develop educational policy. (b) ER did not provide educational professionals with guidance for their work, (c) ER was fragmented, noncumulative, and methodologically flawed, and (d) ER was often tendentious and politically motivated.
Afdal, H. W. (2012 ). Policy Making Processes with respect to Teacher Education in Finland and Norway. Higer Education (Published as Online First 7 April ). doi: 10.1007/s10734-012-9527-2 Biesta, G. (2007). Why “what works” won’t work: Evidence‐based practice and the democratic deficit in educational research. Educational Theory, 57(1), 1-22. Gornitzka, Å. (1999). Governmental policies and organisational change in higher education. Higher Education, 38(1), 5-31.
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