Crises as catalysts for change: re-energizing teacher education in Northern Ireland

Anne Moran

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Teacher education has been the subject of a seven year review culminating withthe issuing of a consultation document Teacher education in a climate of change: The wayforward (Department of Education and Department of Employment and Learning 2010).Issues of rationalization, demographic trends, the over provision of teachers and the cost ofinitial teacher education inter alia dominated the agenda.Purpose: The paper seeks to assess the ways in which the current economic climate, studenttuition fees, reduced income from government and the declining demographic situation willaffect recruitment, on the profile of applicants to teacher education, on widening access andparticipation and on models of teacher education. As the environment becomes increasinglyglobally competitive, issues surrounding the nature, quality, cost and content of programmeswill be analysed.Sources of evidence: Data which informs the paper derive from multiple sources includingeducation policy documents, review and strategy documents, research reports and relevantresearch literature. It will be complemented by the author’s knowledge and experience as ateacher, teacher educator and international researcher and sustained contributor to theformulation, implementation and evaluation of teacher education policy in NI.Main argument: With the predicted reduction in expenditure for Higher Education in NIlikely to be considerable over the next four years, substantial cuts in teacher education areinevitable (Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) January 2011). At a time whenparticipation rates for under-represented groups are being encouraged, higher student feesand reduced quotas will impede the goal of achieving a more equitable teaching workforce.Rather than concentrating on the uncertainties which characterize the current economicclimate, it will be important not to focus exclusively on survival and sustainability but onlonger term opportunities for transforming and re-conceptualizing teacher education.Conclusions: All of the current national teacher education review documents in England(Department for Education (DFE): 2010); Republic of Ireland (Teaching Council 2010);Northern Ireland (Department of Education (DE) and Department of Employment andLearning (DEL) 2010); and Scotland (Donaldson 2010), highlight the need to improveteacher education. Irrespective of the constraining global financial situation, a career-longmodel for teachers’ professional learning is overdue. It is possible, even in financiallychallenging circumstances to realise the opportunities for creative change to ensure thatteacher education maintains its high standards and reputation. Enhanced resourcing by itselfdoes not necessarily guarantee enhanced provision.Keywords: Teacher education, flexibility, partnerships, widening access, globalization
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-147
    JournalEducational Research Journal Special Issue 2012
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 21 May 2012


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