Global processes are transforming educational policy around the world in complex ways, with different implications for different local arenas. Over the last two decades, a global neoliberal policy paradigm has emerged, placing the teacher at its centre. Two well-known examples are the OECD report on education and training policy, ‘Teachers Matter’, and the McKinsey & Company report entitled ‘How the World’s Best-Performing School Systems Come Out on Top’. It now seems more important than ever to highlight some alternatives that might contribute to a broader understanding of the meaning of being a teacher.
In a time of standardised performance and accountability, this special issue raises critical questions about the space for teachers’ agency and teachers as curriculum agents. The different articles from some of our most distinguished researchers in the field provide essential perspectives on the question of where, when and how teachers matter. Our interest is not primarily to understand the scope of teachers’ agency but rather to understand what becomes important for teachers in their everyday activities, such as teaching students, handling educational norms and rules, working in a local as well as a global society etc. A common theme throughout the articles is that teachers matter in spaces where they can act as moral subjects in their profession in the present, drawing on collective and individual experiences of the past whilst imagining a desired future.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Curriculum Studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Teachers matter – but how? Daniel Alvunger, Daniel Sundberg and Ninni Wahlström
1. Bearing witness to teaching and teachers David T. Hansen
2. Global injustice, pedagogy and democratic iterations: some reflections on why teachers matter Elaine Unterhalter
3. Talking about education: exploring the significance of teachers’ talk for teacher agency Gert Biesta, Mark Priestley and Sarah Robinson
4. Curriculum policy reform in an era of technical accountability: ‘fixing’ curriculum, teachers and students in English schools Christine Winter
5. Accountability and control in American schools Richard M. Ingersoll and Gregory J. Collins
6. Enacted realities in teachers’ experiences: bringing materialism into pragmatism Elin Sundström Sjödin and Ninni Wahlström
Ninni Wahlström is Professor of Education at Linnæus University, Sweden. Her current research focuses on transnational and national policy discourses and their implications for national curriculum and classroom teaching from a perspective of critical curriculum theory. She is also interested in educational philosophy and theory, specifically in pragmatism. She is the author of Transnational curriculum standards and classroom practices: The new meaning of teaching (with Daniel Sundberg, 2017).
Daniel Alvunger is a Senior Lecturer in Education in the Department of Pedagogy and Learning at Linnæus University, Sweden. He is a member of the Studies in Curriculum, Teaching and Evaluation research group and his research concerns curriculum theory with a special focus on the complex and intertwined relations between transnational policy, national educational and curriculum reforms and the implications of reforms in local schools. His interests also include curriculum innovation, school development and educational leadership.
Daniel Sundberg is Professor of Education at Linnæus University, Sweden, where he is the co-leader of the Studies in Curriculum, Teaching and Evaluation research group. His main field of research is education reforms, curriculum and teaching, where changes over time and place in what counts as knowledge are central. More recently, he has investigated changing relations between educational research, politics of education and teaching practices from historical and comparative perspectives.