Writing in 1962, in his then widely recognised analysis of anti-intellectualism in America, Richard Hofstadter wrote ((in so far as the teacher stands before his pupils as the surrogate of the intellectual life and its rewards, he unwittingly makes this life appear altogether unattractive (Hofstadter 1962, p. 313). This comment was simply a small note in a larger analysis of the ways in which public education contributes, and would continue to contribute, to a broad social hostility toward intellectual life and intellectuals that had become so apparent in the McCarthyism of the US 1950s. For Hofstadter and many of his contemporary social commentators it was clear that public education generally and teacher education more specifically was destined to produce intellectual mediocrity so long as there was insufficient political will to invest in these institutions at levels yet unseen, then and now. Given the historical context in which Hofstadter was writing. as the cMcCarthy years) waned on the seemingly cyclical horizon of the United States' national sensibility, it seems most appropriate to ask again what role public education generally and teacher education specifically might play in any future attempts to avoid the clearly unfortunate consequences of the central role of anti-intellectualism in US life. In Australia, the Institutes of Teachers are now positioned to make major claims on Universities in the content, structure and delivery of teacher education programs. In light of the absent presence of any serious acknowledgement of the need for intellectual approaches to teaching and teachers, one has to query whether we have moved far beyond the historical origins of teacher education, or done much to lessen Hofstadter's cutting observations and concerns.
Zeitschrift fur Padagogische Historiographie Vol. 14, Issue 2, p. 88-99