Enacting transformation of initial teacher education in partnership: negotiating the shifting sands of professional roles and responsibilities during a period of culture change.

Year: 2019

Author: Waters, Jane, Barnes, Jan, Livingston, Kay, Hughes, Sioned

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In ITE, new expectations have been established for partnership and shared responsibility between teacher educators in both universities and schools in Wales. These expectations are tied to the context of systemic change within a national education system concerned to ensure each and every learner grows as a capable, healthy, well-rounded individual who can thrive in the face of unknown future challenges. In order to operationalise the ambitious vision for a teaching workforce enabled to contribute to socially just educational outcomes, new programmes of ITE have been devised, in partnerships between schools and HEI’s. This paper looks at one such partnership which, building on the work of Mockler (2005) has adopted a transformative perspective.

The drive for reform in Wales directly addresses the roles and responsibilities of teacher educators situated in both HEIs and in schools. This paper briefly outlines the transformative nature of the new ITE programmes in one HEI and reports the findings to date from the ongoing ‘Shifting Sands’ research project that seeks to capture and explore the understandings of those involved in the partnership about the expectations, roles and responsibilities that are now required.

The analytical frame adopted in this paper is a developed form of Engstrom’s activity triangle from Cultural Historical Activity Theory that includes notions of agency emanating from the work of Emirbayer and Mische (1998). The activity triangle allows us to analyse change by evaluating the forces or mediating factors which influence activity. It is a framework that examines the process and the purpose of practice within a specific environment. However, it has previously lacked the scope to consider, with breadth and depth, the agency of the individual as part of the change process. By including the chordal triad of agency in the analytical frame, we are able to consider the agency of the individual within the collective activity orientated towards intentional change.

Given that transformation requires a ‘rupture’ of the ordinary, we include critical consideration of the extent to which the apparent transformation of partnership relations represents a genuine rupture of the ordinary, and offer an early evaluation of the analytical frame.

Emirbayer M & Mische A (1998) What Is Agency? American Journal of Sociology 103 (4) 962-1023

Mockler, N. (2005) Trans/forming teachers: New Professional Learning and Transformative Teacher Professionalism. Journal of Inservice Education 31(4) 733-746