The importance of context: Teacher education policy in England and France compared

Jo B. Helgetun


This chapter discusses how England and France are on contrasting paths in teacher education. The paths are driven by reforms and policies by their respective central governments, and have had ramifications for how the teacher, through their prescribed education, is conceptualized in the two countries over time. In England, changes since the 1980s till today have been addressed as a turn to the practical as school-based training has come to dominate teacher education. Meanwhile, the official image of the ideal teacher in England has arguably gone from “scholar” to “self-improving craftsperson.” In France, changes in the same time period are a from a teachers’ college model centered on practical pedagogy for the primary teacher and a university focused subject mastery model for the secondary teacher toward a common model of university-based teacher education, with a broad emphasis on theory of learning, practical experience, and subject knowledge for all teachers. The conceptual changes in France are centered on harmonization between the primary and secondary teachers toward a universalist teacher who is obliged to master all facets of the modernizing profession. This text discusses these changes in relation to three different contexts of policy: influence, text production, and practice.

In: Menter I. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Teacher Education Research. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.