Professionalism and teacher educators: The gender politics of pedagogy in initial teacher education

Year: 2002

Author: Murray, Jean

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper focuses on the place of pedagogy in teacher educators' constructions of their professionalism. Case studies conducted in two different Departments of Education within English Universities show teacher educators resisting changes to their established pedagogical practices. On first sight the resistance seems superficial and unnecessarily defensive in the face of pragmatic changes which, ironically, are designed to decrease the amount of teaching the tutors need to undertake. But analysis shows that the established ways of teaching and the discourses underlying them are at the heart of personal professionalism for the tutors interviewed.

The paper uses a theoretical framework derived from the work of Bourdieu to argue that the tutors' constructions of professionalism are influenced by both gendered, pastoral discourses within the field of Initial Teacher Education (ITE), and their habitus as individuals who commenced their teaching careers in the primary school sector. The paper analyses some of the tensions resulting from conflicts between these gendered constructions of professionalism and the changes in teaching methods enforced at both universities.