Teacher educators and ‘accidental’ careers in academe : an Australian perspective

Mayer, D and Mitchell, J and Santoro, Ninetta and White, S (2011) Teacher educators and ‘accidental’ careers in academe : an Australian perspective. Journal of Education for Teaching, 37 (3). pp. 247-260. ISSN 0260-7476

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Abstract

While teacher education is often seen as the key to preparing qualified teachers who are able to educate students for the demands of the twenty-first century, relatively little attention is paid to the teacher educators who actually do this work. Given the increased demand for teacher educators in Australia due to retirements, and the changing political and institutional context of teacher education, it is timely to understand a little more about the teacher educator workforce. Who are they, why do they work in teacher education, what career pathways have led them to teacher education, what are key aspects of their knowledge and practice as teacher educators, and what are the critical issues faced by those working in teacher education? This paper reports on a study that investigated the pathways into teacher education and the career trajectories of a small group of teacher educators working in a range of university sites in three states in Australia. The study draws on interview data to examine the ways in which these teacher educators talk about the accidental nature of their career pathways, their views about teaching and research, and the variable ways in which experiential and research knowledge are recognised and valued within the field of teacher education and in the academy. The report highlights important considerations for the preparation of the next generation of teacher educators as well as for their induction, mentoring and career planning in order to build and sustain a viable teacher education workforce for the twenty-first century.