Some Reflections on New Initiatives of Thinking Teacher Education in Denmark
Denmark has recently on a small scale tried new initiatives and ways of thinking teacher education out, which implied the students simultaneous trainee employment at a school, and their maintaining of the study activities at the teacher university college. This Danish initiative differs from other in western countries well known ways of organising teacher education as school-based, with a strong workplace focus, as well as from the use of the teacher assistant as support staff in schools. This paper discusses key findings and some theoretical implications from the simultaneous follow-up research, which concluded in the autumn of 2010, and for which I was responsible. This research analyses the possibilities and dilemmas in the interplay between the university college, the trainee jobs and the learning processes of the students. The theoretical and methodological framework for the follow-up research made use of notions of decentredness in the ‘situated learning theory’ (Lave & Wenger) and of ‘communities of practice’ (Wenger), and this theoretical basis was further expanded with the notions of power relations and de-naturalised perspectives, (Foucault), and neo-liberalism (Rose). The follow-up research dealt with the purpose and goal of the pilot project and explored the perspectives of the participants expressed in their experiences and ways of participation. The study contributes to an understanding of how this and similar ways of doing simultaneous teacher education and training contribute to new competencies and engagement among the participants (trainees, teacher teams, schools, local authorities and, to some extent, also the university colleges) and to new forms of self-regulation processes, which become visible as the study relates to actual economic, cultural, and politically powerful discourses in Denmark.