chapter  12
14 Pages

Teacher education policy and gender

WithPat Mahony

It is difficult to imagine that anybody could disagree with the belief expressed by all major political parties in recent years that ‘good teachers using the most effective methods, are the key to higher standards’ (DfEE 1997:1). Such consensus probably ends at this point, however, for as soon as notions such as ‘good teachers’, ‘effective methods’ or ‘higher standards’ are defined, different viewpoints will emerge about the purposes, priorities and desirable ends of schooling and the best means of achieving them. In voicing some disquiet about the potentially negative impact of recent developments in teacher education policy on gender equality, I have no wish to fabricate some past golden age in which antidiscriminatory practice was the norm. In being critical of current government policy neither do I wish to disassociate myself from a commitment to wanting ‘better teachers’ or even ‘raising standards’ but as I shall try to show, the devil lies in the detail of what is meant by these terms.