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Title: Modernising initial teacher education/training : primary teachers as technician/deliverers or moral-craftpersons : who cares? who decides?
Author: Menendez, John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3393 9880
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2007
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The post-modern era has seen the rising influence of technical rationality across society, its institutions and functions (Turner 1990): and, Initial Teacher Education/ Training (ITE/T) has not been immune to this. Technical rationality is marked by bureaucratisation and rationalisation and has led to an 'intervene and prescribe' approach to ITEfT. The advocacy for technical-rationality amongst ITEfT policy makers raises the study's principal question: 'What are some of the implications, and influences, of UK [England] government's techno-rationalist driven ITE/T policy over the last 25 years on primary student/trainee-teachers, ITE/T providers, ITE/T policy makers and society in England?' The study considers this question, through research at the macro-level (policy review) and micro-level (case study of a small group of primary student/trainee-teachers undertaking ITEfT in the 1990s). The study's research concludes that ITE/T policy over the last twenty-five years had led to both significant achievements but also raised significant issues. Achievements on a macrolevel include: the creation of a quasi-ITE/T market has widened consumer choice (Le Grand and Bartlet 1993), invoked regulation through 'next steps' agencies working through the 'new managerialism' (Dunsire 1995; Gains 1999) to achieve common standards and processes (Furlong 2005), the recent adoption of a 'Third Way' approach (Giddens 1998, 2000; Newman 2001) has achieved greater stakeholder participation in ITE/T policy making and implementation including the re-defining of teacher professionalism (through QTS standards). These achievements have in turn produced the highest standards in new teachers (Tabberer 2003, 2005). At a microlevel ITE/T policy has achieved greater choice for individual consumers, and increased direct participation in ITE/T particularly for teachers and schools. The study suggests that despite techno-rationality driven policy's successes that it has limitations, principally discounting the human attributes or social capital of 'teacher as person' (Clark 1995: 4) which had motivated primary student/trainee-teachers to enter teaching in the first place, and which remained stable amongst the study's student/trainee-teachers despite the influence of technical-rationalist government policies. The most significant feature of the QTS standards in influencing student/trainee-teachers' teacher thinking is the relative balance between technicalreflection, practical-reflection and critical-reflection. The study's findings raise the question: 'what 'type' of new teachers does society expect: those of technical deliverers/technicians (Lawlor 1990) or reflective practitioners/moral-craftsperson (Tom 1984)?' Further consideration of this question leads to defining the key challenge facing ITE/T policy makers and stakeholders as being: (i) defining the qualities society expects of its new teachers (teacher professionalism) ...; and, (ii) considering how ITEfT can best educate student/trainee-teachers to support sustained improvement for gll pupils, including the most under-privileged, and contribute to 'a fairer society'? The study concludes that if further progress is to be made on raising standards for Q)l pupils and creating 'a fairer society', as outlined in government's most recent policies (DfES 2004a, 2004b and 2006), that a broader approach which 'counts-in' explicitly the human-side to teaching (Elbaz 1992, Hargreaves 1998, Dunne 1997), needs to be adopted. Four recommendations are developed which seek to enhance the part ITE/T plays in raising standards for 'all pupils' and creating 'a fairer society'. Several ways in which research could inform further policy making and developing ITE/T practices are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available