chapter  5
Critical language teacher education?
WithJohn Gray
Pages 14

One of the consequences of neoliberal ‘reforms’ of education has been the progressive marketisation of education from pre-school through to university and the accompanying politically motivated recalibration of teacher education designed to produce efficient and disciplined bureaucrats with a narrowly prescribed knowledge base. From the neoliberal perspective, education is about the production of workers with the skills and dispositions needed to compete in the global economy, and teachers’ specific remit is to facilitate this. This chapter begins with a brief discussion of neoliberalism, before outlining the serious implications it presents for second language teacher education. It then moves to a consideration of data from a teacher education programme which – it is suggested – give cause for serious concern. Specifically the chapter explores how marketisation has impacted on an initial teacher preparation programme in the UK – the state sector Post Graduate Certificate of Education in Modern Foreign Languages (PGCE-MFL) – as emblematic of the kind of deskilling and discrediting of teachers which has typified the neoliberal era in many global settings. The chapter then turns to a consideration of the possibility of critical language teacher education and the ways in which this has been addressed by a group of concerned teacher educators committed to critical pedagogy. The chapter concludes by listing a selection of key readings for readers who wish to pursue the issues raised further.