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Context and coherence in initial teacher education in Ireland: the place of reflective inquiry

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This article considers the experience of one Irish institution that has incorporated forms of reflective inquiry and practice into its initial teacher education programmes. Issues of coherence arise in relation to the larger context of education in Ireland. A serious disjunction emerges in the form of a clash between an official policy that urges substantial changes in curriculum and teaching and a national and school context that is resistant to educational change. Actual â–“ as opposed to declared â–“ policy and school practice are dominated by technical perspectives that are at odds with the significance of reflective inquiry in teacher education and with the resulting critical awareness of context and policy. Teacher education orientated towards professional development through forms of reflective inquiry is thereby rendered politically marginal. Appropriate responses to this dilemma are proposed: namely, that teacher education maintains a long-term perspective on its duty to enable teachers to respond professionally to the interaction of schools and reform efforts and, secondly, that it undertakes a prophetic role as critical friend to an education system resistant to change.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Limerick, Ireland

Publication date: March 1, 1999

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