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ERIC Number: EJ969409
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1881
Teacher Education, the Global Financial Crisis, Frogs and Bicycles
Ling, Lorraine
Educational Research, v54 n2 p213-224 2012
Background: The extent to which the global financial crisis (GFC) has impacted upon teacher education in universities in Australia is potentially, like most other aspects of teacher education, a contested area. Purpose, aims/questions: The aim of this article is to examine the impact the GFC along with other funding constraints, has had on teacher education in Australia. Sources of evidence: On the surface we could cite some aspects of teacher education which may point to a significant impact of the GFC such as funding from the government not keeping pace with other OECD countries' spending on higher education in general and teacher education in particular, increased pressure to find appropriate practicum placements for students, increased staff/student ratios, reduction of hours for teaching in university courses, obsession with profit margins and cost-driver budget models. However, all of these issues were evident or at least immanent before we started hearing about the GFC. Alistair Mant in his book "Intelligent Leadership" (Crow's Nest, NSW: Allen and Unwin; 1997) employs the metaphor of frogs and bicycles to describe organisations and systems. Universities and most organisations are in fact more naturally like frogs than bicycles. They are organic in that all parts interact to create the whole and they are complex systems, which are not susceptible to technical, machine-like approaches. A bicycle is a machine and a frog is a living thing. Main argument: Governments view universities as bicycles or machines, and this thinking is further reinforced through the introduction of a market forces model. Teacher education when treated as a bicycle when it is really more of a frog, shows signs of adaptation for as long as it can cope with various bits being cut off, but then will become unsustainable. While the impact of the GFC in Australia generally was much less severe than in many other countries, the continued starving of teacher education of adequate funding over a long period has taken its toll as reflected in unduly high staff student ratios, an over-reliance on casual staffing, insufficient funds to support the requirements of practicum placements, unrealistic staff workloads, lack of succession planning and inability to innovate. Conclusion: The issues discussed in this article are likely to be attributable to a highly successful and prolonged period of economic rationalism and policies, which emanate from New Right ideologies. The influence of neo-conservative and neo-liberal policies is well in evidence in universities generally and in Australia, successive governments have underfunded higher education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia