Many policy makers and educational researchers seem to be convinced that teaching matters. Unfortunately, such a case for teaching and teachers tends to rely on a rather one-dimensional view of what counts in education – namely the production of measurable learning outcomes – and a rather mechanistic view of what counts as education – namely teaching as an intervention that is aimed at producing particular effects. Such views about teaching and education more generally are also affecting programmes of teacher education. In this paper I raise some questions about such views about the significance of teaching, on the assumption that the future of teacher education needs to be informed by a different understanding of what teaching is and what it is for. I make a case for a multi-dimensional view of the purposes of education and for teaching as an act of communication and interpretation that always requires judgement about that ‘what’ and the ‘what for.’ Placing such judgement at the centre of teacher education suggests that the structure of the curriculum for teacher education should be spiral rather than linear-cumulative.
In teacher education, it is problematic to intertwine theory and practice. It is also problematic that student teachers lack self-awareness about what values they express in their meetings with pupils. They need to reflect and verbalize their teaching experiences. In this article, results from a study in teacher education are presented from a development work where a combination of a didactic tool that visualizes ethics in teaching and a digital tool, video paper is tried. The purpose is to investigate how this combination can stimulate student teachers´ reflections on their teaching during their internship and through follow-up in the campus course. Findings indicate that the tools in themselves are not enough to bridge theory and practice. However, the tools can be helpful to teacher educators. Reflections presented in video papers are quite different in content, range and depth which are visualized through the questions of the didactic tool and by different typologies for reflection. The reflections show that there are many ways to verbalize ethics which raises questions about what it really means to visualize ethics.
A Case Study on the Professional Development of Chinese Language Teachers in Hamburg
Ping Ren and Meinert Meyer
The professional development of Chinese teachers of Chinese as a foreign language (cfl) in Europe is confronted with various complex educational challenges and problems. Traditional Chinese educational schemata and cultural values have great impact on these teachers’ professional beliefs and their perceptions. My case studies of six cfl teachers show that their professional challenges are connected with the cultural differences of Chinese and German educational contexts. Open-ended questions, in-depth interviews and classroom observation were employed. And multiple data sources, such as the transcripts of teacher interviews, field notes were included. Cross-case analysis indicated that the cfl teachers have to deal with some conflicts of their previous biographies and new requirements of local educational context, such as teacher-centered didactics versus student-centered didactics, traditional Chinese language approaches versus intercultural communicative didactics; strict classroom discipline versus acknowledgement of students’ individuality etc. I depict their professional development by employing a theoretic framework of developmental task theory, i.e. professional competence, mediation, acknowledgment and institution. My study may help to shed light on understanding the individual difficulties that cfl teachers face in overseas teaching environments. The study’s findings and recommendations therefore are of significance for the future design of teacher training for cfl teachers in Germany and in other European countries.
From Teaching as a Moral Pursuit to Teaching as a Technological Practice
Michael A. Peters and Xudong Zhu
Teaching, born of the period of the ancient sages, developed as the moral art of living that introduced humanity to teaching as a moral pursuit, to the formation of value, to a moral and religious mode of being, and to a set of moral principles that have survived into the modern day. The idea that the ‘future of teaching’ represents a technological disruption of moral traditions of teaching and what teaching might become has become a serious concern for the current generation of philosophers in both China and the West. This editorial examines these issues and introduces this special issue.
Top school systems select and educate their teaching staff carefully, they provide an environment in which teachers work together to frame good practice, they encourage teachers to grow in their careers; and they have moved on from administrative control and accountability to professional forms of work organisation.
Still, the laws, regulations, structures and institutions on which education policy tends to focus are just like the small visible tip of an iceberg. The reason why it is so hard to move school systems is that there is a much larger invisible part under the waterline. This invisible part is about the interests, beliefs, motivations and fears of the people who are involved in education, parents and teachers included. This is where unexpected collisions occur, because this part of educational reform tends to evade the radar screen of public policy. That is why educational leaders are rarely successful with reform unless they build a shared understanding and collective ownership for change, and unless they build teacher capacity and create the right policy climate, with accountability measures designed to encourage innovation rather than compliance.
The most essential reason why teachers’ ownership of the profession is a must-have rather than an optional extra lies in the pace of change in 21st century school systems. Even the most effective attempts to translate a central curriculum into local classroom practice will drag out over a decade, because it takes so much time to communicate the goals and methods through the different layers of the system and to build them into traditional methods of teacher education. In a fast-changing world, when what and how students need to learn changes so rapidly, such a slow process leads to a widening gap between what students need to learn and what and how teachers teach. The only way to shorten that pipeline is to professionalise teaching, that is to ensure that teachers not only have a deep understanding of the curriculum as a product, but equally with the process of curriculum and instructional design and the pedagogies to enact and enable the ideas behind the curriculum. The challenge is to build on the expertise of the teachers and school leaders and to enlist them in the design of superior policies and practices. Where systems fail to engage teachers in the design of change, teachers will rarely help systems in the implementation of change.
With its connotations of superior moral integrity, exceptional leadership qualities and expertise in the science of government, the modern ideal of statesmanship is most commonly traced back to the ancient Greek concept of πολιτικός (politikos) and the work of Plato and Aristotle in particular. Through an analysis of a large corpus of modern English translations of political works, built as part of the AHRC Genealogies of Knowledge project (http://genealogiesofknowledge.net/), this case-study aims to explore patterns that are specific to this translated discourse, with a view to understanding the crucial role played by translators in shaping its development and reception in society. It ultimately seeks to argue that the model of statesmanship presented in translations from ancient Greek is just as much a product of the receiving culture (and the social anxieties of Victorian Britain especially) as it is inherited from the classical world.
Jeroen M.J. Chorus
This article reviews C.J.H. Jansen’s attempt to write the history of Private Law (except for Commercial Law) doctrine in The Netherlands during the 19th Century. Regrettably, Jansen’s book does next to nothing discuss academic and other scholarly writings on the Law of Property and of Obligations, and does not at all discuss such writings on the Law of Persons and the Family, of Juristic Persons and of Succession. It only deals with aspects of methodology, of sources of law and of extra-legal factors which inspired some authors, apart from pouring out over the reader lots of facts unconnected with Private Law doctrine. The book’s title is misleading.
The History of the Nobel Prize
Edited by Nils Hansson, Thorsten Halling and Heiner Fangerau
Contributors are Massimiano Bucchi, Fabio De Sio, Jacalyn Duffin, Heiner Fangerau, Thorsten Halling, Nils Hansson, David S. Jones, Gustav Källstrand, Ulrich Koppitz, Pauline Mattsson, Katarina Nordqvist, Scott H. Podolsky, Thomas Schlich, and Sven Widmalm.
The Seventeen Statutes is one of the oldest classical texts of Old Frisian Law. In its late fifteenth century edition, as part of the Frisian Land Law, it was provided with Latin glosses. Analysis of these glosses, which were scarcely investigated until now, enables us to pronounce with more certainty upon the date of both the Frisian Land Law, as a compilation, and its Gloss. Moreover, the glosses to the Seventeen Statutes reflect a considerable increase of ecclesiastical competence, point to certain principles of Romano-canonical procedure and use Roman law texts when applying provisions of indigenous law. This all may indicate a stronger presence of learned law in late medieval Friesland than previously assumed.