This study examines how university academics understand and enact knowledge requirements embedded in official teacher education policies. The research probes faculty understandings of what constitutes ‘relevant and appropriate pedagogies’ in teacher education curricula, and the basis of such knowledge selections in the absence of a stable ‘knowledge base’ of teacher education. In teacher education, new national norms and standards are intended to guide curriculum processes in new programmes. However, policies remain open to wide interpretation and assume common understandings among the teacher education community with regard to knowledge, practices and values. This study, conducted in three university-based Faculties of Education, analyses the curriculum motivations, processes and practices of education academics, in an attempt to understand and explain their responses to policy requirements. The conceptual framework of Paul Trowler is employed to examine the Teaching and Learning Regimes (TLRs) at work in academic contexts. By lifting out the discursive repertoires, identities in interaction, tacit assumptions, connotative codes, implicit theories of teaching and learning, power relations, rules of appropriateness and recurrent practices among faculty members, this research demonstrates how knowledge is mediated in and through institutional contexts. Three parallel Faculty portraits elucidate stark differences in approaches to curricula and in curriculum processes, a consequence of the lack of a stable knowledge base and the perceived vagueness of policy directives. Significantly, institutional histories and traditions feature prominently as ‘shapers’ of academic responses to change, factors that, the study argues, government policies have not taken into account.
Thesis (PhD (Education Policy Studies))--University of Pretoria, 2008.