Teacher educators’ professional learning: A necessary case of ‘on your own’?

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Teacher educators’ reports of their professional preparation as teachers of teachers are typically characterized by experiences of isolation, loneliness, and neglect. These feelings of aloneness have been longstanding and the current situation for teacher educators seems unchanged. At the same time, an accumulating body of international research highlights both the complex nature of teaching, and an urgent need to improve the quality of teachers and teaching, worldwide. This sets up a strange discrepancy between on the one hand, a pressing need to prepare high-quality teachers, and on the other, a relative lack of organized preparation for those whose responsibility it is to prepare these future teachers. This chapter addresses the issue of teacher educators’ professional learning. First, I present some of the issues related to the professional situation of teacher educators and explain how these notions of aloneness may have arisen. Then, I put forward an argument about the nature of teacher educators’ professional learning and how it might be better understood and promoted based on an analysis of teacher educators’ accounts of their work, including my own.
I draw on Mezirow’s (1991, 1995), theory of transformative learning in interpreting these
accounts Finally, I re-frame notions of teacher educator aloneness from that of ‘isolation
and disempowerment’ to ‘autonomy with agency’, and assert that being ‘left alone’ is a necessary
condition for promoting teacher educators’ professional learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Learning in Education
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges for Teacher Educators, Teachers and Student Teachers
EditorsBram De Wever, Ruben Vanderlinde, Melissa Tuytens, Antonia Aelterman
Place of PublicationGent [Belgium]
PublisherAcademia Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9789038225968
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventBiennial International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching Conference 2013 - University of Ghest, Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 1 Jul 20131 Jul 2013


ConferenceBiennial International Study Association of Teachers and Teaching Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleISATT 2013

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