(Zoom link forthcoming)
The events of the past year, dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, have had an indelible effect on just about every aspect of our lives, especially teaching and learning for our children. The good news is that everyone, whether parents, public citizens or policy makers, has developed greater clarity about the essential role that teachers play, not just in the instruction of young people, but in holding up society and ensuring economic progress and smooth social functioning. But heightened consciousness around the importance of teachers and schools has been accompanied by greater awareness of shortcomings in education systems. There is a renewed call for teachers to be equipped with the knowledges and skills demanded by the “new normal.”
It is not surprising then that just about everyone, including educators themselves, has jumped into the conversation about improving teaching and teachers, which in turn means re-imagining teacher preparation. Internationally, teacher development has become a central focus. Teacher educators are re-tackling the question of what teachers should know and be able to do in the face of current imperatives—digital divides and numerous inequities, vast economic upheaval, racism and social unrest, political disorder, and more. At the same time, teacher preparation must also be forward looking, nurturing teachers who are ready to support students who can navigate the unknown and create a better and more inclusive future.
This question is not easily answered and will likely be answered in different ways by educators in different contexts. In her talk, Dr. A. Lin Goodwin offers three perspectives teacher educators can use, regardless of their unique contexts, to examine the familiar, that is teacher education as they know (and do) it, in order to imagine the strange—teacher education as it might possibly be. To ignite re-thinking, she suggests teacher educators look for: 1) Dead ideas—cherished practices and givens that may have long outlived their utility but remain cemented in place and so block fresh thinking; 2) Missing ideas—content, viewpoints, actions, histories or narratives that should be front and center in teacher preparation but are either absent or marginalized and therefore perpetuate the status quo; and 3) Unrealized ideas and ideals—goals and intentions we highlight as important and strive to enact, when in reality our talk and walk as teacher educators remain far apart. Undoubtedly, envisioning the future of teacher education is a weighty and complicated challenge. But it is a challenge we can as a profession undertake if we can un-see the taken-for-granted, ask new questions, and re-commit to our aspirations.
A. Lin Goodwin (葛文林) is Dean and Professor of the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Prior to joining HKU in 2017, she was Vice Dean at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, and the Evenden Foundation Professor of Education. She is a past Vice President of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)—Division K: Teaching and Teacher Education, and the inaugural Dr. Ruth Wong Professor of Teacher Education at the National Institute of Education in Singapore. In 2015, Dr. Goodwin was honored as a Distinguished Scholar by AERA’s Special Interest Group: Research on the Education of Asian and Pacific Americans. Professor Goodwin’s research focuses on teacher/teacher educator beliefs, identities and development; equitable education and powerful teaching for immigrant and minoritized youth; international analyses and comparisons of teacher education practice and policy; and the experiences of Asian/Asian American teachers and students in U.S. schools. Recent publications include “Globalization, global mindsets and teacher education” in Action in Teacher Education, and “Learning to teach diverse learners: teachers and teacher preparation in the U.S., Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education. Her latest book, co-authored with Ee Ling Low and Linda Darling-Hammond, is: Empowered educators in Singapore: How high-performing systems shape teaching quality. Professor Goodwin has served as a consultant to a wide variety of organizations including school districts, philanthropic foundations, and higher education institutions, around issues of diversity, educational equity, and teacher education. Her work has taken her to many different countries such as Brazil, Jordan, Mongolia, Latvia, Singapore, China, Poland, and Bermuda among others, where she has collaborated with local educators to support quality teaching and teacher development.