What do we know about teacher quality and the professional formation of teachers?

Year: 2018

Author: Kostogriz, Alex

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher quality has become a hallmark of education reforms in many countries around the world, representing the incursion of the neoliberal economic model and its managerial principles into the organisation of education. Neoliberal policies – with their emphasis on efficiency, deregulation, productivity, market competition and choice – have been instrumental in reshaping schools into businesses, teachers into managed professionals and school leaders into managers. As these new managerial technologies loomed more and more prominently in discourses of educational policy-making, the perceptions of teacher quality and the professional formation of teachers have also been transformed. In particular, policy-makers have concentrated on policy settings in order to improve the quality and productivity of the teaching workforce and its participation in educational reforms.
This paper explores tensions between how ‘teacher quality’ is understood by policy-makers and how it is re-presented and practised by the profession. While policy-makers tend to reduce quality to the measurable indicators of instructional effectiveness, the profession is focused more on conditions that affect the core processes of professional education and formation of the teaching workforce. The tension between the political construct of teacher quality and its practice-based re-presentations is visible, in particular, in how and to what effect educational partnerships are initiated and implemented between schools and universities. The paper argues that it is not possible to investigate issues about the quality of teacher preparation and work without conceptualising it within the time-space of professional becoming or as a nexus between the teacher experiences of professional learning and the conditions of their work in schools.