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Teacher as person: The need for an alternative conceptualisation of the ‘good’ teacher in Australia’s Vocational Education And Training sector
journal contributionposted on 2020-09-22, 00:00 authored by Teressa SchmidtTeressa Schmidt
Conceptualisations about teachers and teaching have important implications for teachers’ practice, expectations of their practice, their initial education and continuing professional development. This paper presents empirical data from a qualitative multiple case study to discuss conceptualisations of good teaching in Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. It argues that the sector’s contemporary discourse, influenced by neoliberalist reforms and accompanied by the development of a culture of performativity, reflects a predominantly ‘reductionist’ approach to conceptualising teaching–one which seeks to atomise teaching to produce a prescriptive list of capabilities VET teachers need in order to teach well. There exists, however, an alternative, more holistic approach which focuses on the personal, recognising the importance of the individual teacher, and while reductionist approaches may help to identify some of the capabilities required by VET teachers and adequately serve some instrumental and performative purposes, they largely overlook the importance of the unique characteristics of the individual teacher. Developing ways to describe VET teaching using a holistic approach may help to provide an even more insightful and comprehensive understanding of ‘good’ VET teaching, which may in turn inform strategies for the education and development of VET teachers in the future. © 2019, © 2019 The Vocational Aspect of Education Ltd.