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.
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