Teachers, Teaching and Teacher Education: Trajectories, Threats and Transformations


Call for Proposals

Society for Educational Studies

2023 Colloquium

Oriel College, Oxford

Thursday 7th September – Friday 8th September 2023

The role, work and status of teachers, including their preparation and continuing professional development, remains in a condition of paradox. On the one hand, teachers are one of the most – if not the most – significant factor impacting on children and young people’s educational experiences, attainment and outcomes. Everyone remembers a good teacher. On one reading, teachers are autonomous professionals who require and exhibit not just technical knowledge or subject knowledge, but who act ethically, operate in loco parentis and who use their professional judgement and wisdom for the good of those in their care. This understanding of the teacher requires teachers to have a positive sense of their profession and to think deeply about what education is for, what constitutes a good education and, indeed, the place of education in what it means to live a good life. The very importance of teachers and teaching as transformative has been recognised internationally

Yet, on the other hand, teachers, teaching and teacher education exist in difficult times. A succession of government policies and agendas over at least the last 45 years (particularly in England) have increasingly viewed teachers as civil servants and as deliverers of an at times narrowed curriculum. Teaching itself has often been constituted as a technical, de-contextualised and prescriptive activity, with teacher education increasingly taken out of universities and colleges of higher education in favour of more practically focused time in schools. Teacher recruitment and retention, including of school leaders, is in crisis in some areas of the United Kingdom.

Of course, the nature and extent of these changes have played out differently in the four nations of the United Kingdom, with rather different emphases and implications. In this complex and at times fraught context, the Society for Educational Studies held its 2023 annual colloquium at Oriel College, Oxford, September 7th-8th.

A special issue of the British Journal of Educational Studies based on the 2023 colloquium will be proposed. If accepted for publication, it would be published in 2024.

Keynote speakers were:

  • Professor Toby Greany, University of Nottingham;
  • Dr Sarah Anderson, University of Glasgow with co-presenters Dr Sevda Ozsezer Kurnuc, University of Glasgow and Dr Pinky Jain, Leeds Beckett University. Other project members include Ms Mary Lappin and Professor Jim Conroy, University of Glasgow; Professor Rachel Lofthouse, Leeds Beckett University; Dr Andrew James Davies and Mr Daryl Phillips, Aberystwyth University;
  • Professor Caroline Daly, UCL.

The Colloquium Programme is available below.

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