Out of Time: Breaking the temporal logic of (unjust) teacher education

Year: 2019

Author: Heimans, Stephen, Heck, Deborah, Davidow, Shelley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this paper we argue that time is produced in initial teacher education in ways that limit our work to a focus on teacher qualification.The weight that is placed on the product/ qualification of the teaching degree means that as teacher educators we are forced to operate according to a logic of input-output, where there is no time for reflection on, or teaching about, the purposes of education- no time or space to take responsibility to do work that is ‘beyond qualification’. We draw on Biesta’s (2014) articulation of threefold interconnected domains of purpose in education: qualification, socialisation, subjectification, as a way to expand our thinking about teacher education against the temporal logic we operate within.

In particular, the paper explores our deepening understanding of Biesta’s notion of subjectification in the context of our work as teacher educators. The paper details our own developing practices in connection with subjectification. We build on this work to think about teaching as ‘dissensus’- and this allows us to discuss the temporal logics that govern our work, and how we have sought to change them. Likewise, we will discuss the connections between subjectification, time and social justice.

With respect to these connections, we explore the following questions:

1. Where our time is standardised and under surveillance, how can we break (with) linear, goal-defined pedagogy and open up spaces for processes of open-ended inquiry?

2. How do spaces for freedom appear in initial teacher education?

3. If we take the leap of faith in teacher education that Biesta (2017) is asking us to try out, where we learn to trust our students and ourselves again, what are the implications for ‘our’ time and subjectification?

4. How are the above questions connected to social justice for initial teacher education students?’

The purpose of the paper, therefore, is to explicate and offer examples of ‘subjectification’ in action in initial teacher education, where questions of time and social justice have arisen. We discuss ‘moments of disruption’ from within our teacher education practice- leaps of faith- spaces for/ of freedom. We discuss possibilities for resistance against the ‘lack of time’ we have as educators through these examples. We hope these will show our attempts to break (with) the temporal logics that govern our work and whether/ how this might be framed in terms of social justice.