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The political controversies of teacher education: a Swedish Case
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Education. (STORIES)
University of Gävle, Faculty of Education and Business Studies, Department of Educational sciences, Educational science, Curriculum studies. (STORIES)
2018 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Swedish teacher education has been subject for public discussion and critique for several years, particularly in national media. Its recurrent occurrence in media discourse should not be seen only as a public phenomenon, separated from everyday thinking. As Fairclough (2000) points out medialization of society is also characterized by the way it colors individuals own meaning making. A general background for the political controversy of teacher education is the historic hallmark of being a young discipline in the academy and its “constrained relationship with the state” (Maguire 2014, p. 782), contributing to political issues of what characterizes a good school and good society. Earlier studies of Swedish prominent media discourse (e.g. Wiklund 2006) regarding school and teacher education reveals a negative and even stereotype image (Edling 2014, 2016) when it comes to deliver successful results on international tests, foremost PISA , indirectly framing teacher education as a means for achieving international economic success on the international market.  

In this paper, we claim that public discussion of school and of teacher education is necessary. However, we need to discuss the conditions for such a conversation in the public sphere. We will approach this issue by looking deeper into the Swedish debate about teacher education in three prominent national newspapers, focusing on 2016-2017. In this period many issues were highlighted and condensed, such as the (low) academic status of educational research (cf. Condliffe Lagemann 2000), the possibilities for teacher education to equip teachers with skills to improve in the international competition of school knowledge and whether teacher education should be an academic type of education at all (cf. Maguire 2014).

We will approach our data from one main purpose with three interrelated focus points. The purpose of our paper is to contribute to research about medias’ role when it comes to naming and framing the debate about teacher education in Sweden by analyzing how four major newspapers in-between 2016-2017 define a) challenges/strengths with current TE, b) solutions for change/improvement of current TE, and c) who the actors for promoting this change/improvement might be. The last point highlights the possibilities (and limitations) for dialogue between different actors and groups in society.    

We have limited our search to the period of November 2016-November 2017 in order to handle a plausible volume of data and from the criteria that many different issues were brought up during this period, compared with other periods. The database Retriver was used for capturing debates in the three most prominent national newspapers (Dagens nyheter, Svenska dagbladet and Expressen). The analysis of media texts is conducted using critical discourse analysis. This involves a careful examination of words and semiotics to study whether and how language patterns occur and to discuss their plausible consequences for social life (van Dijk, 1995). The articles are thematised using an analytic table highlighting the focus points mentioned above. The results from this Swedish case could contribute with insights regarding potentialities for public discussion of a common teacher education in a democratic society.    

 

References

Condliffe Lagemann, E (2000) An Elusive Science. The Troubling History of Educational Research. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Edling, S (2014) Between curriculum complexity and stereotypes: exploring stereotypes of teachers and education in media as a question of structural violence. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 47: 3, 399-415.  

Edling, S (2016) “Who” is Teacher Education? Approaching the Negative Stereotypes of Teacher Education. In J.M. Paraskeva & S. Steinberg eds. Curriculum. Decanonizing the Field. NY: Peter Lang

Fairclough, N (2000) New Labour, new language? London: Routledge.

Maguire, M (2014) Reforming teacher education in England: ‘an economy of discourses of truth’. Journal of Education Policy, 29:6, 774-784.  

Van Dijk, T (1995) Aims of Critical Discourse Analysis. Japanese Discourse, Vol. 1, 17-27.

Wiklund, M (2006) Kunskapens fanbärare. Den gode läraren som diskursiv konstruktion på en mediearena. [The flag-bearer of knowledge. The good teacher as a discoursive construction on the media arena] Örebro, Sweden: Universitetsbiblioteket.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-25951OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-25951DiVA: diva2:1171593
Conference
AAACS, St. John’s University, New York City, 11-13 April 2018
Note

forthcoming

Available from: 2018-01-08 Created: 2018-01-08 Last updated: 2018-01-08Bibliographically approved

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