FORUM
ISSN 0963-8253


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Volume 48 Number 3 2006

Archive

CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]

 

SPECIAL ISSUE
What it Means to be a Teacher
Guest Editor: MICHAEL FIELDING

Michael Fielding
. Editorial. What it Means to Be a Teacher, 219
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doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.219
Jonathan Paine
. Care in the Community, 229
Gill Mullis
. Learning to Teach: on being a teacher, 235
Frances Holloway
. Enabling Something Amazing to Happen: a less proscriptive approach to teaching, 241
Patrick Yarker
. A Kind of Twilight: how do teachers of English at Key Stage 3 respond to the requirement to prepare their students for SATs?, 247
Ivor Goodson
. The Reformer Knows Best: destroying the teacher’s vocation, 257
Christopher Day & Lesley Saunders
. What Being a Teacher (Really) Means, 265
David Nixon
. In Praise of Diversity: why schools should seek gay and lesbian teachers, and why it’s still difficult, 275
Scherto Gill & John Pryor
. The Person Who Teaches? Narrative Identity and Teachers’ Experience at an International Conference, 285
Terry Wrigley
. ‘Training’ is Just Not Good Enough, 297
Sandra Leaton Gray
. What Does it Mean to Be a Teacher? Three Tensions within Contemporary Teacher Professionalism Examined in Terms of Government Policy and the Knowledge Economy, 305
Philip A. Woods & Glenys J. Woods
. In Harmony with the Child: the Steiner teacher as co-leader in a pedagogical community, 317
Alison Cook-Sather
. Production, Cure, or Translation? Rehumanizing Education and the Roles of Teacher and Student in US Schools and Universities, 329
Judie Alison
. Collective Memory Loss: secondary teachers and school qualifications in New Zealand, 337


 

Care in the Community

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.229

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This text gives a brief insight into the potential which schools may have in their own communities. It gives details of ways in which the aims and objectives of other organisations in the community can be identified and linked to the aims and objectives in our schools. It’s about a way of schools developing curriculum based projects which also involve working with their own communities in a way which benefits everyone.

 

Learning to Teach: on being a teacher

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.235

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This narrative is one teacher’s attempt to represent a personal (political) and professional journey from becoming a student teacher to being a teacher, whilst always remaining a learner. The author offers her record of significant experiences, influences, debates and dilemmas, pausing to reflect on the principles which have informed her work with students and staff and to share her hopes for future learning and learning relationships.

 

Enabling Something Amazing to Happen: a less proscriptive approach to teaching

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.241

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This article identifies some of the frustrations felt by a classroom practitioner as a result of the restrictions generated by current demands for accountability, and the limiting effect these can have on children’s learning experiences. It goes on to consider the liberating impact of a more organic way of organising the curriculum, which allows teachers and students to collaborate in choosing the issues they will address together, and which encourages teachers to plan material which engages the hearts and minds of their classes.

 

A Kind of Twilight: how do teachers of English at Key Stage 3 respond to the requirement to prepare their students for SATs?

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.247

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This article presents extracts from interviews with 14 teachers of English. It indicates some of the tensions which result for such teachers from having to prepare Year 9 students for the ‘national’ tests in English toward the end of Key Stage 3. These are high-stakes tests: they supply the means to compile school ‘league tables’ and the material by which authorities judge whether schools, departments and individual teachers have met given targets. For teachers, readying students for Standard Assessment Tasks (SATs) can entail confronting in a sustained way the extent and depth of the loss of professional autonomy. Teachers speak of the costs of complying with and adapting to the requirement while attempting to maintain their convictions.

 

The Reformer Knows Best: destroying the teacher’s vocation

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.257

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Drawing on data from a major Spencer Foundation study, this article focuses on the effects of major restructuring initiatives in New York State on a gifted and utterly committed teacher. It challenges the now ubiquitous assumption that ‘the reformer knows best’ and reveals the gradual demise of an immensely gifted, dedicated teacher – a man whose mission to educate is compulsive, continuous and coherent – at the hands of ‘reforms’ which turn out to destroy the lives of students, teachers, and whole communities. Reforms which deny, ignore or otherwise disvalue the sense of mission of excellent teachers such as the person whose story is told in this article turn out to be counter-productive and exemplify the global warming of vocational purpose.

 

What Being a Teacher (Really) Means

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.265

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This article gives just a taster of a large-scale in-depth longitudinal research project, ‘Variations in Teachers’ Work, Lives and Effectiveness’, funded by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and conducted by a joint team from the University of Nottingham and the Institute of Education, London. The authors outline the approach which the research adopted, highlight the key findings and discuss some of the implications of this ground-breaking study, which established the dynamic, emotional nature of the professional life phases and identities of teachers. They suggest that what it really means to be a teacher is not only more complex than some current wisdom suggests, but that schools need to devote far more attention to their policies and strategies for making the best of their precious human resource.

 

In Praise of Diversity: why schools should seek gay and lesbian teachers, and why it’s still difficult

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.275

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This article begins from imagining what it would be like to target recruitment for teachers at lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual (LGBT) people, and then examines in some detail two kinds of discrimination (or pathology) which makes life in the world of education problematic. It then turns to why, in spite of these difficulties, lesbian and gay teachers bring particular personal qualities to teaching, as well as inspiring necessary structural changes.

 

The Person Who Teaches? Narrative Identity and Teachers’ Experience at an International Conference

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.285

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This article reflects on an approach designed to facilitate teachers’ learning through responsive narratives. Analysing participants’ interaction during a case study of an international conference, we highlight the significance of teachers engaging directly with each other’s life stories and using their own voices to re-shape their professional-personal identity, especially with regard to renegotiating what it means to be a teacher.

 

‘Training’ is Just Not Good Enough

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.297

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This article reflects on different models of professional qualification for teaching, based on a comparison between initial teacher education (ITE) in Scotland and a narrower and more pragmatic view of ‘teacher training’ in England. It includes an analysis of the official requirements in both countries (the Standards), which exemplify different discourses; a comparison of quality assurance systems in both countries; and some illustrations of initiatives based on the principle of problem-based learning (PBL) as used in teacher education at the University of Edinburgh.

 

What Does it Mean to Be a Teacher? Three Tensions within Contemporary Teacher Professionalism Examined in Terms of Government Policy and the Knowledge Economy

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.305

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This article debates three tensions within the contemporary teaching profession in Great Britain, in terms of education policy after the 1988 Education Reform Act. The first is between prospective and retrospective identities, as defined by Bernstein (1996/2000). The second is between teachers’ expectations of professional status, and centralised and highly regulated school inspections. Finally, the article looks at vocation in the teaching profession, and how this comes into conflict with issues of self-interest amongst teachers. The article concludes by suggesting another tension that is evident throughout all three earlier strands of debate, between democratic professionalism (Whitty, 2002) and the post-1988 education landscape. The article closes by suggesting that a future education act in favour of a more humane education system may resolve this situation.

 

In Harmony with the Child: the Steiner teacher as co-leader in a pedagogical community

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.317

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This article provides a glimpse into what it means to be a Steiner teacher, drawing on research we have undertaken into Steiner schools in England. The distinctiveness of the philosophical context of Steiner teaching is highlighted, as well as aspects of curriculum, pedagogy and the collegial leadership of Steiner schools. Whilst not without its challenges, Steiner education offers an instructive and thought-provoking alternative to contemporary trends.

 

Production, Cure, or Translation? Rehumanizing Education and the Roles of Teacher and Student in US Schools and Universities

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.329

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Concerned about the dehumanization of teachers and students throughout the history of schooling in the United States, the author critically analyzes two metaphors for education that have perennially shaped educational practices in the United States: education is production and education is a cure. Drawing on a set of commitments that could re-humanize education, she proposes an alternative – education is translation – and discusses what it would require of educators in schools, universities, and programs of teacher education to embrace this re-humanizing metaphor.

 

Collective Memory Loss: secondary teachers and school qualifications in New Zealand

doi: 10.2304/forum.2006.48.3.327

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This article draws on research among very experienced secondary teachers in New Zealand to show that a prolonged period of neo-liberal education policies can have a lasting effect on teachers’ memories of their own radical past. Despite the existence in the 1970s and 1980s of an emerging consensus among secondary teachers that the traditional norm-referenced qualifications system needed radical reform, by 2004 a sample of teachers who had taught through all or most of that period failed to recall the profession’s advocacy for change. Change, including qualifications reforms that the profession had been first to advocate, was typified by them as externally imposed. This poses a major challenge to those who seek to reclaim and revoice teaching’s radical past.

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