I quite agree that we need to reconceptualise teacher education to permit "other" knowledges to inform teacher's thinking and practices. However, given the forcefulness of pre-service teachers' "12-13 year internship" in the public school system, the impact of which is often cited as one major reason why the vicious cycle of tradition-uniformity-control seems unbreaking, what tangible hopes do you hold for teacher education to modify in measurable amounts the force of this 12-13 year experience? My limited experience as a teacher educator would scream otherwise. Perhaps the trickle-down theory might have some validity, yet? -C.G.

Susan Responds:
I agree with you that there are powerful biographical factors in teachers' lives that operate to determine their understandings of what education should look like. However, to concede their prior experiences in schools the place of ultimately determining their work as teachers seems to me in many ways to surrender altogether hope for teacher education, transformative or not. Some teacher educators, such as William Pinar and Madeline Grumet, have suggested that currere, a sort of phenomenological autobiographical writing and analysis, can profoundly affects pre-service teachers' understandings of the structures and effects of their educational experiences. I don't think teacher educators can assume that autobiographical study will have a neat teleology of pre-service teachers' breaking altogether with the past, but perhaps such reflection, combined with study and questioning of the purposes and processes of education, can help to create new forms of schooling? It's a hope, and realistically one that will find realization in some locations and not others. But I do hope in more than at present.