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Teacher education in a global context : towards a defensible theory of teacher education
chapterposted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Richard Bates
Teacher education is under scrutiny in virtually every country. In part this is a result of increasing public concern over the availability and quality of public education. Such education is seen by both individuals and states as a crucial factor in obtaining positional advantage in an increasingly integrated and competitive global economy. Simultaneously, increasing flows of ideas and people across national boundaries are subjecting traditional cultures to scrutiny and comparison. The result is that education systems are frequently subject to demands to combine technical and economic innovation on the one hand with social and cultural conservation on the other. The provision and preparation of teachers is, consequently, regarded as an issue of 'quality': quality defined as both 'technical competence' and 'socially acceptable values'. Sandwiched between the two great steering mechanisms of markets and money on one side and culture and tradition on the other, teacher education, like education more generally, needs a defensible theory that celebrates its contribution to the relative autonomy of individuals and education systems fom both markets and traditions. However, as teacher education itself becomes more globalised, most systems are preoccupied with pragmatic issues of enrolment and graduation; length of preparation; comparability of standards; mutual recognition; portability of qualifications and intercultural education. Political resolutions of these issues differ from state to state and are in some cases significantly influenced towards privatisation by intergovernmental organisations. This combination of social and procedural issues underlies the current debate in teacher education and requires the development of a defensible theory of teacher education that supports the relative autonomy of teacher education from the pressures of markets on one side and traditions on the other.