International agencies, educational discourse, and the reform of teacher education in Argentina and Brazil (1985-2002) : a comparative analysis
This thesis addresses the relationship between the discourses about teacher education produced by international agencies and the policies and practices of teacher education in Argentina and Brazil. In particular the thesis analyses the proposals of UNESCO, the World Bank and OECD for teacher education, arguing that there are certain common assumptions that underlie these recommendations. Based on the theories of Foucault, the thesis identifies a universal model for teacher education that international agencies promote as the solution to most educational problems in most contexts. In order to illuminate the effects of the discourse produced by UNESCO, the World Bank and OECD, the thesis analyses the reforms of teacher education in Argentina and Brazil in the 1990s, showing a strong influence of international agencies on these reforms. However, the effects of the discourse of international agencies in Argentina and Brazil depend on the interaction of this discourse with local assumptions about what constitutes good education for teachers. Consequently, the discourse of international agencies was recontextualized differently in each of these contexts of reception. Drawing upon the work of Ball and Bernstein, an analysis of interviews with teacher educators in Argentina and Brazil shows how the discourse of international agencies was re-interpreted in and through the views of teacher educators, revealing several unanticipated consequences of local ising the proposals of international agencies in these countries. Thus, this thesis shows that foreign influences in education cannot be explained by theories that are only centred on the state. Rather, comparative education needs a theory that takes into account supranational and sub national actors that are fundamental in defining educational practices. In order to contribute to the development of such a theory, the findings of this thesis are placed within a broader theoretical model to map the circulation of discourse in the global educational field.