ERIC Number: EJ917431
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 10
The High Stakes of Artificial Dialogue in Teacher Education
Simpson, Douglas J.
Teacher Education and Practice, v22 n4 p478-481 Fall 2009
Talking about important events, experiences, and ideas is a crucial societal concern for many reasons. In the field of teacher education, dialogue may be even more difficult because it is sometimes seen as being both essential and troubling. Dialogue is complicated because some people are fearful of open inquiry; others are inclined to rant; and still others are disposed to dismiss it as an oppressive endeavor. Artificial dialogue may be promoted by inviting only one or two types of voices--for example, content specialists and methodologists and, frequently, practitioners who have similar backgrounds. The author contends that, when teacher education faculty engage in artificial dialogue and fail to use and strengthen academic freedom and freedom of speech, they are actually operating in undemocratic ways and taking paths that undermine their profession, institutions, and society. Professionally, they undermine their ability to think together, create, revise, and evaluate programs that are in the interest of future democratic citizens. Pedagogically, they undermine the academic freedom of faculty--and students--when they do not meet the challenges offered by difficult discussions. Politically, their actions betray their ideals, and so they undermine national guarantees, including freedom, equality, and justice. Naturally, there are many contributors to democracy and its implications for the profession, classrooms, and country. But if teacher educators fail to dialogue democratically about the ideals and issues of teacher education curricula that reportedly nurture democratic values, then they have questionable grounds for claiming that they are the midwives of democracy. Instead, they seem to be the servants of the dominant interests of factions in society and universities.
Descriptors: Teacher Education, Freedom of Speech, Academic Freedom, Democracy, Democratic Values, Teacher Educators, Dialogs (Language), Interpersonal Communication
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A