How do university teacher educators articulate, through the narratives of their professional lived experience, their thoughts and concerns about current and future education policy and practice?

Year: 2018

Author: Findlay, Yvonne

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on a research study into the neglect of teacher educators’ voices in the discourses surrounding teaching and teacher education. Five Queensland university teacher educators articulated, through the narratives of their professional lived experience, their thoughts and concerns about current and future education policy and practice
 Evidence of the neglect of teacher educator voices was found by a search of the literature on teaching and teacher education. A number of reports were found that scrutinised classroom teaching and teacher education in Australia, the United Kingdom and across Europe. These reports make comment on and recommendations about the current and future practice in teacher education but do not indicate the ways in which teacher educators have or have not been involved in the discussion on and preparation of the reports.
Narrative Inquiry (NI) was used as both methodology and method. The narratives told of the professional lived experience of the participants and how that experience has led them to articulate their thoughts and concerns about education today and in the future.
Five common themes emerged from the analysis of the narratives: the way in which initial teacher education (ITE) students are recruited; the influence of government policy on the ways in which the curriculum and testing are delivered in schools; the qualifications and experience of teacher educators; the need for a closer working relationship between schools and universities; and the process of transition from teaching in school to teaching in the university. These themes formed the basis of how the researcher made meaning of the participants’ narratives.
The study adds to our knowledge and understanding of the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of NI.  A new dimension, the generative space, was added to enhance the understanding of how the common places of NI work together to enable deep reflection on the past, present and possible future lived experience.
Policy and practice in teacher education were scrutinised through the lenses of the teacher educators’ narratives and led to the development of recommendations regarding the role and status of teacher educators.
In essence, this study has evolved into being about the things that matter to the five participants. Each is a highly qualified and experienced professional expressing the positives, negatives and frustrations that they experience in their current professional lives. They are five individuals with a passion for education as a whole and the education of teachers in particular.