The Politics of Teacher Education Soder & Sirotnik Notes

Soder, R., & Sirotnik, K. A.  (1990). Beyond reinventing the past: The politics of teacher education. In J. I. Goodlad, R. Soder, & K. A. Sirotnik (Eds.), Places where teachers are taught (pp. 385-411). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

The Enduring Themes

  • "...For all the apparent similarities in schools of education and teacher education across the nation, there are differences in background, style, context, demography, and numerous other numerous other variables (p. 386)."
  • Research Orientation and Loss of Identity
  • Search for Higher Status

    • "As the university's status goes up, the teacher education program's status tends to decline. Moreover, we should add, within the school of education, teacher education increasingly loses status to other divisions within the school that are busying themselves with emulating the arts and sciences (pp. 388-389)."
  • Intrusion of External Forces

    • Accreditation and certification are two examples of state intrusions.
  • Competition
  • The Enduring Themes Discussion

    • "What makes the external forces intruding on education more difficult to deal with is the low prestige of education, the low status of the clients, and the general disrespect accorded teaching in the nation's schools (p. 394)."
    • "Moreover, the uncertainty over how we should proceed in education is exacerbated by a lack of first principles, or at least disagreement over what those first principles are (p. 396)."


The Politics of Change

  • Understanding politics is essential in creating change in teacher education.
  • Faculty members are agents of change with regard to teacher education and should stop waiting for others to act as catalysts.


Paths for Change

  • The reconstruction of schools of education: "...First, they must rediscover their mission as professional schools, built around the moral and ethical responsibilities of teaching and preparing to teach and all the scholarly and service activities that would be expected to support, nurture, and sustain this central purpose (p. 400)."
  • "Second, they must learn well how to view for power and resources, gain control of reward systems, form important coalition groups, and negotiate successfully in their own best interests (grounded, of course, in their mission) (p. 400)."
  • Mission

    • "For so long as conventional wisdom has it that anyone can be a teacher, schools of education are going to have a difficult time justifying their existence, no matter how far they stray from the central task of educating educators (p. 401)."
    • "Scholarly inquiry requires time and effort. It is long-term. It enriches the scholar's understanding through immersion in both historical and contemporary understanding and practices. It requires much reading and thoughtful reflection. It requires sustained discourse with colleagues who are similarly engaged. Scholarly inquiry is - or ought to be - a way of professional life for faculty in schools of education, the fruits of which must be deliberately brought to bear on teaching and learning (p. 402)."
    • "It is knowing in action - a dialectical process of reconstructing knowledge in the context of practice. This cannot be done in an armchair or in front of a personal computer. One must be with educators, experience their problems, work with them in knowledge-using and knowledge-generating activities. In short, 'service' must be reconceptualized and reconstructed as praxis and rewarded highly in decisions regarding promotion and tenure (p. 403)."
  • Strategic Action


The Prospects for Change