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Calling for ‘urgent national action to improve the quality of initial teacher education’: the reification of evidence and accountability in reform agendas
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Emma RoweEmma Rowe, Andrew SkourdoumbisAndrew Skourdoumbis
In early 2015, the Australian Government and an associated Ministerial Group called for ‘urgent national action to improve the quality of initial teacher education’. Following this call for action, the Australian Government launched a series of reforms into initial teacher education, targeting ‘teacher quality’ and ‘classroom readiness’. The reforms are based on a logic of deficiency within initial teacher education, mandating new accreditation processes, standardized assessments and the National Literacy and Numeracy Test for pre-service teachers. In this paper we set out to explore these reforms, considering the policy trajectories, technologies and technicist network in which they are operationalized. We propose the concept of reification and objectification to examine the institutionalization of auditing, standardization, and accountability. These reforms aim to intervene in both the content and delivery of initial teacher education. We argue that reforms such as these recondition our conceptions of professionalism and teacher quality. There is a contraction in scope for progressive or experiential teacher education, and moreover, the ongoing de-professionalism of teachers and teacher educators, whom are subjected to constant surveillance.