With a (contentious) market review of teacher education in England currently underway, we are reminded that in many parts of the world the place of critical reflection by teachers is increasingly called into question. Teacher ‘training’ is becoming increasingly pre-occupied with content and academic attainment as the sole purpose of schooling, with schools increasingly positioned as competitors within educational systems focused solely on assessing their performance through targets and measurable outcomes. As a result, education systems are undermining attention to those fundamentally human concerns that characterise teaching and through which teachers educate their students.
The challenge this system presents for teacher education in universities is how teacher training programmes focus on promoting critical reflection as well as technical competence. These programmes prepare teachers for the technical, ethical, and professional aspects of the profession, which are underpinned by different and sometimes contested educational beliefs and values. Take, for example, the challenges which arise when values of trust, nurturing, collegiality, and professional responsibility are replaced with the language of accountability, auditing, and monitoring. These subtle shifts to how teachers and the profession are understood, undermine accounts of teaching that are humane, creative, and diverse, in favour of pre-defined quantifiable measures of success.
In this context, the Re-Humanising Teacher education (RHTE) project website seeks to highlight these relational concerns and offer a space for reflection and discussion. More importantly, RHTE seeks to expand horizons and open up new possibilities by creating spaces for reflexivity, collaboration and critical questioning through experiential learning in teacher education and ongoing learning.