This is the 21st century. Ian Menter on teaching

2016-04-26 18.40.05

Ian Menter (Vice-President, British Educational Research Association and Emeritus Professor of Teacher Education, University of Oxford), speaking at the University of Sydney on Tuesday 26 April 2016.

What is a teacher in the 21st century and what does a 21st century teacher need to know? 

Speaking on themes outlined on the Australian Educational Researchers ‘EduResearch’ blog, Emeritus Professor Mentor spoke eloquently on:

Education, and teaching, are increasingly politicised in knowledge-based economies;

‘Policy missing the importance of the relationship between teacher and student’

English (and other) policy makers being influenced by the Global Educational Reform Movement (GERM) e.g. see the interview with Diane Ravitch pp.47-54 in this edition of Professional Voice  and other critiques such as by Pasi Sahlberg in the SMH Australia falling behind in education due to NAPLAN

There is a move to apprentice-type teacher education in England (with some universities no longer offering teaching degrees), while in Scotland teacher education is moving towards master level, with the university at the heart of effective teacher education (and where teaching is seen as a profession rather than simply as a craft).

This neo Liberal approach is reinforcing trends toward inequality

‘Research literacy remains an essential skill for a teacher of the 21st century’

‘Australia is very lucky to have a large-scale study of teacher education happening, the multi-institutional Studying the Effectiveness of Teacher Education (SETE), led by Professor Diane Mayer, from the University of Sydney.’

‘Underlying values of teachers are now more important than ever’

‘My conclusion is that in spite of the many upheavals experienced by teachers and teacher educators as politician juggle their policies, there are important underlying values, such as respect for learners, commitments to social justice and equity, that can be traced through the history of teaching that may now be more important than ever. But the ways in which these values are embodied in the work of contemporary teachers are in need of major reconsideration because of the rapid social and technological change affecting all of us. The responsibilities for teachers today, and therefore for teacher educators, are greater now than they have ever been.’

No one seemed to have an answer to the question of where the time and money for these approaches is going to come from, but that’s a big part of the challenge.