Initial Teacher Education Who Gets in and What Are the Implications for Students, Schools and Society?

Monday, July 14, 2014: 4:15 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Manuela HEINZ , National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
Elaine KEANE , National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
Teachers Matter (OECD, 2005). Through their influence on the young (academic, peronal, emotional, social) they cancontribute to  diminishing educational disadvantage as well as broader inequities of society (Gay, 1993; Sleeter, 1996; Villegas & Lucas, 2001; Zeichner, 1993). Attracting and selecting  individuals to the teaching profession who have the potential to ‘teach for social justice’, equipping them with the necessary skills during their training, and retaining them in schools are important tasks for policy makers and teacher educators.

This paper offers a critical analysis and discussion of currentky administered selection criteria and procedures for initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in Ireland and internationally. It presents first findings from the Diversity Profiling Initial Teacher Education (DITE) study which explores (i) the impact of selection criteria and procedures on the composition of student teacher cohorts as regards their socio-demographic, motivational and educational profiles and (ii) ITE applicants’ perceptions of teaching, learning and second-level education in Ireland.

Researching teacher candidates’ diversity profiles is important and timely since contemporary school contexts have ignited concerns about the mis-match between the ethnic, cultural and language backgrounds of pupil and teacher populations. Furthermore, a small number of studies (King, 1993, Su, 1997) found that minority ITE candidates have clear and strong visions for social justice and for their own roles as change agents in the school and society (which differ from the motivations and conceptualisations held by mainstream students).

Issues related to equity in and equity through teacher education admission (Child et al., 2011), access and widening participation policies will be explored with the aim of opening up important debates about what types of teachers are needed in today’s schools and how policy makers and teacher educators can assure that the most committed and suitable individuals are attracted to and can enter ITE programmes.