Rethinking Teacher Education: The Trouble with Accountability

18th February 2019 : 17:00 - 18:30

Category: Public Seminar

Speaker: Marilyn Cochran-Smith

Location: Department of Education, Seminar Room A

Convener: Alis Oancea

This seminar is number one in an eight-part public seminar series on ‘Future directions in teacher education research, practice and policy’, led by the Department of Education and convened by Diane Mayer (Professor of Education (Teacher Education)) and Alis Oancea (Professor of Philosophy of Education and Research Policy and Director of Research).

Events in the series are free to attend and aimed at academics, researchers, teachers, head teachers, government members, policy-makers and students, although anyone with an interest in the topic is welcome to attend.

Registration is required.

About the series

This public seminar series considers teacher education reforms around the world in order to tease out future directions and possibilities for the relationships between teacher education policy, research and practice.  The series marks 100 years since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. Join us this term as we mark the Oxford University Department of Education’s  100th anniversary through this series of public events that pay particular tribute to our contributions in the field of teacher education today.


During the past two decades in the U.S. and some other countries, there has been a growing consensus that university teacher preparation is failing and that holding teacher education accountable through vigilant public evaluation and monitoring will fix it. Treating the U.S. as a kind of cautionary tale, this presentation exposes “the problem with accountability” by unpacking the assumptions underlying major accountability initiatives, revealing their lack of evidence, and arguing that they have a negative impact on the work of teacher education. Despite these problems, Professor Cochran-Smith does not conclude that accountability is the wrong direction for teacher education. Rather she argues that we need to “reclaim” teacher education accountability for the profession and in support of the larger democratic project.


Marilyn Cochran-Smith is Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education at Lynch School of Education, Boston College, USA. She is widely known nationally and internationally for her scholarship regarding teacher education research, practice and policy and for her sustained commitment to inquiry-based teaching and teacher education for diversity and social justice. A highly sought-after keynote speaker, she has honorary doctorates from University of Glasgow (Scotland) and University of Alicante (Spain).

A former AERA president and an elected member of the National Academy of Education, Professor Cochran-Smith was the 2018 recipient of the AERA/Division K Legacy Award for lifetime contributions to research on teaching/teacher education. She has written ten books, seven of which have won national awards and recognitions, and more than 200 articles, handbook chapters, chapters in edited books, and editorials.


To view the other seminars in this series see here.

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To discover more about our 100th anniversary see here.