Has any occupational group been the subject of as much research as elementary or primary school teachers? Written by a former elementary school teacher, this intensive study considers how the foundations of the ongoing teacher reform movement have appealed to researchers through its successive stages. By tracing these ideas back to their historical roots, Jonathan Neufeld illustrates how they actually descend from the physical and biological sciences rather than from student/teacher relationships. Neufeld’s in-depth analysis of economic trends during the 20th century shows how economic and educational reforms are closely related. He demonstrates how the century-long movement to develop teachers became obsessed with turning them into soldiers of a failing economy.
This book rewrites the existing foundations and outlines a future direction that will excite researchers and practitioners alike. It introduces alternative theoretical foundations and propositions to inspire innovative discussions about teachers’ continuing educational development and what it could mean to teach children in classrooms. Since the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1982, "teacher development" has become a universal term, used to express an international movement to professionalize teachers. But imagine if the foundations of this research had little to do with life in the classroom. How would we then begin to discover what "development" means to practising teachers?
Redefining Teacher Development will appeal to researchers in teacher instruction and development, as well as practising teachers with an interest in how research has conceptualised their field.